A Simple Answer

Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.

Recently, I read a very interesting essay titled “An Interview with God.” The author is unknown, but I believe it could have been written by any of us.

“Come in,” God said. “So, you would like to interview me?” “If you have the time,” I said. God smiled and said, “My time is eternity and is enough to do everything. What question do you have in mind to ask me?”

“What surprises you most about humankind?”

God answered: “That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived.”

God took my hand, and we were silent for a while, and then I asked: “As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”

God replied with a smile:

“To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is let themselves be loved. To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but whom they have in their lives. To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not a group. To learn that the rich person is not the one who has the most, but one who needs the least. To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn that there are persons who love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings. To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about him or her and likes him or her anyway. To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves.”

I sat there a while enjoying the moment. I thanked God for the time and what God has done for my family. God replied, “Anytime. I’m here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I’ll answer.”

Perhaps this is the message of Passover and Easter: God is reachable; all we have to do is extend our hand.