When blogging “for the sake of heaven,” it’s easy to get the last word in when you post right before Shabbos! However, even though a new week has begun, I’m hoping my generous hosts at Beliefnet–and my colleagues who’ve graciously invited me to join their conversation–will extend my opportunity to offer some thoughts.
I wrote a book called, “The Answer” because I believe that answers are precisely what we want and need in order to make the best possible use of our finite time in this world. I also believe we are living in an answer-addicted, inquiry-allergic culture, where people genuinely want to “tidy up” but are afraid of the mess they have to wade through in order to do the tidying, and, in the face of that fear, tend to take short-cuts that often leave them feeling even less capable of imposing order on the chaos than when they began. I have framed each chapter of the book with a question to remind us all that we have the power to use the questions that come into our lives no matter where or how we live, no matter how hermetically sealed we’ve attempted to make our existence, or how tightly controlled the environment, to shape and arrive at real, lasting, substantive answers all the days of our lives.
In that spirit, Rabbi Stern was mistaken if he read an avoidance of or disregard for answers into my respect for the life-giving power of questions. To me, the two go hand-in-hand. And no one–and here I’ll stay away from the labeling, most of which, is crude and the statistics, which turn honest Jewish and human struggles into contests I’m simply not interested in winning or participating in–gets through this life without at some point figuring out the relationship between life’s most challenging questions and the answers they must provide. Life demands it of them. Life demands it of us.
–Posted by Rabbi Jennifer Krause
Rabbi Jennifer Krause is the author of The Answer: Making Sense of Life, One
Question at a Time. For more information, please visit her website.