Friday, May 30, 2014

What's Your Burning Question?

The goal of this email is to light a fire under your Friday night dinner conversation. Please print and share.


One way I enjoy getting to know someone is to ask, What's your burning Jewish question?

Usually, they have one. They might have to sift some of that gray matter, but they usually already have one.

Today marks the beginning of Jewish Burning Question Month.

So the first question for your table: What's your burning Jewish question?

(Parents - one of the best answers to any burning question is, "That's a great question, I don't know!")

A couple days ago I had one of those burning quesiton moments with a nice Jewish boy in San Francisco.

His burning question led our conversation to a fascinating bit of Jewish wisdom.

In 1565, a scholar in Tsefat, northern Israel, named Rabbi Yosef Caro published an encyclopedia of Judaism called The Set Table.

It covers everything from ritual to business ethics to basics of philosophy.

Unlike some attempts before and after Rabbi Caro, his book was immediately and universally accepted as authoratative. No small feat!

Now, would it be interesting to know how the universally-accepted encyclopedia of everything Jewish begins?

How would you guess he starts this great opus? What area of Judaism will set the tone for the entire work?

The Shema? The Golden Rule?

Here's the opening line:

"A person should get out of bed in the morning like a lion."

Huh? What does that have to do with Judaism?

Ever see one of those nature videos on lions? Remember how they get up in the morning?

They yawn. They roll over. They hit the snooze button.

Is that what the good rabbi had in mind?

Or did he mean we should get up in the morning like a lion attacks!!!

Fine, but wha't so Jewish about that?

Evidently there has been new research in pyschology into the causes and consequences of procrastination.

Says DePaul University Professor Joseph Ferrari (great name for a procrastination researcher, no?):

“It’s an existentially relevant problem, because it’s not getting on with life itself. You only get a certain number of years. What are you doing?”

More on this next week.

In the meantime, even if you don't normally print this email, just do it. Share it with your dinner table. You only get a certain number of chances to engage everyone in meaningful conversation. Go ahead.....

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Shavuot

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