Monday, January 4, 2010

The Darvaza Hole and the Spiritual Seeker

GOOD MORNING! Have you ever wondered why a Spiritual Seeker answers a question with a question? If your first reaction is, "Why not?" ... it probably says a lot about your heritage and training!

If one answers a question with a statement it means that he assumes he understands the question and accepts the parameters of the question. A classical example: The story is told of a little boy returning from his first day in kindergarten. He asks his mother, "Where did I come from?" His mother pulls out all of the books she has saved for this fateful day and for the 1/2 hour explains the "birds and the bees." Afterwords his mother asks him, "By the way, why did you ask this question?" The little boy responds, "Because the boy in front of me in kindergarten came from Cleveland."

A good question is half of the solution. Form your question properly and the response you get will be more informative, exact and useful. Google has taught us this - we must define and narrow our question. Questions are the means to verify and clarify. They help you examine life and to grow!

Some people think Spirituality is blind faith. They are wrong. The first commandment that Maimonides (one of our great sages called the Rambam--who I just saw a film on last night) lists in his Mishneh Torah is "Know there is a G-d." That means that we are obligated to search and examine, to gather information and evidence to clarify how we know that G-d exists.

To clarify your goals in life, ask: What are the 3 things I value most in life? Who are the 3 happiest people I know? Who do I like and respect the most - who are my heroes? and then ask: Why?

Rabbi Noah Weinberg always taught his students to keep a running list of questions about their studies and life. Keep a list. It will give you a lot more interesting discussions for dinner or coffee breaks.

If we don't ask and pursue questions, then our chances of understanding and knowing are greatly diminished.

Here are some  fascinating questions 

"Is religion a panacea for the ignorant? Is it a crutch for the weak-willed? Then how do we explain all the positive side benefits it brings in its wake?

"If the Torah came from G-d, where does the Talmud fit into the scheme of things? Isn't G-d's word enough?"

"When asked to define happiness, many equate it with freedom and pleasure. Are the three concepts the same? If happiness means being free, then why would a game of baseball played with no rules bring little happiness? If happiness means pleasure, then why does the pain of working out bring me happiness? Can there be more to happiness than meets the eyes?"

"Why do we wear clothes while apes walk around unclothed? What is clothing meant to protect? And how can we harness the forgotten power of modesty to enrich our marriages and homes?"

"G-d knows everything, including every move I make. Yet I have free will. How can the two co-exist?"

"If God is good and we are His chosen nation, how can we understand the Holocaust?" "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Love Yehuda