22 January 2020
“Why do Jews always answer a question with a question?”
“How should they answer?” – Dear Abby
Questions have always been at the heart of our Jewish tradition. From the first question in the Torah—God asks Adam in the Garden of Eden, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)—to our Passover seder—“Why is this night different from all other nights?”—we appreciate a good question more than an answer. It reminds us to value the exploration and not just the discovery.
Some of our questions arouse our soul: “If I am not for myself, who am I? If not me, who? If not now, when?” (Rabbi Hillel). Others are rhetorical remarks, as when Tevye in disbelief sings, “Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?” in Fiddler on the Roof.
And with the power to question comes the responsibility to act. The questions we are asking at Women’s Philanthropy move us beyond what we think we know about an issue, to explore the difficult and the unknown, and examine something we haven’t completely considered—about others and about ourselves.
Do you remember the story of the Jewish mother who asks her child who had walked in the door from school, not what did you learn, but what question did you ask?
What questions do you have for us? What are you seeking, and how can Women’s Philanthropy be a part of that exploration?
Here’s to asking important questions in 2020 that lead to deeper understanding about what matters most in life.
Robin Hettleman Weinberg