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God Squad: Kids ask the best questions about God

"The very best questions I have ever been

"The very best questions I have ever been asked about God were the questions asked of me by children," writes Rabbi Marc Gellman. Credit: Dreamstime/TNS

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,

The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,

The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;

And a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)

A theologian is a person who knows more about God than we do. The key to being a great theologian is being able to ask really good questions. The very best questions I have ever been asked about God were those asked by children. I wrote down some of their questions (many were from third-graders) and will begin this week a series on kids' questions about God, along with my answers to my little students — who actually turned out to be my greatest teachers.

Q: Where does God live?

A: God lives everywhere in nature, and God lives in all people who let God into their lives. If we make good choices, God comes to live inside our souls. If we make bad choices, God cannot live in us. God always wants to live in us, but we get to decide if we want to let God in. Doing good things is the only way to let God in.

Q: Why don't animals talk?

A: They do talk. Whales even sing to each other. We just don't understand their language. If you mean "Why don't animals speak English?," the answer is probably that if you were an animal and knew that humans mainly want to eat you or put you in a zoo, would you have anything at all to say to them?

Q: Does God like how he made the world?

A: Well, it says in the Bible that when God made the world and everything in it, God looked at it and said that everything was "very good." If God thought the world was good, so do I. In fact, the bad parts of the world happen because of what people do, not what God did.

Q: Were you born a Jew? How old were you when you learned the Hebrew alphabet?

A: I was born as a little Jewish baby in Milwaukee. I first learned Hebrew from Mr. Weinstein, who only had one leg so he walked with a crutch. Whenever I made a mistake, Mr. Weinstein would take his crutch and slam it down on his desk with a huge WAP! It scared me and everyone in class. I learned not to make any mistakes in Hebrew because I did not want to hear Mr. Weinstein's WAP! But don't worry, dear. We don't do any WAP-ing at our synagogue.

Q: Can you get a puppy for me?

A: Yes! I could get you a puppy, but here is what would happen. I would go out to the rescue shelter and get you a cute fuzzy puppy right now. I would then bring the cute fuzzy puppy to your home. When your mom or dad came to the door, they would welcome me in and immediately ask me, "Why do you have a puppy in your arms?" I would then say to them, "Your child asked me for a puppy, so here I am." They would then say, "Rabbi Gellman, will you please leave our house right now?!" So, you see, the people you need to convince to let you have a puppy are your mom and dad and you have not been able to convince them yet.

Here is an idea. Tell them that as a family you could raise a guide dog puppy for one year, then you would give it back to the Guide Dog Foundation in Smithtown to train the dog to help a blind person have a better life. If it works out for the year, you can get a puppy from the shelter. If not, you only have to have the dog for one year, a good deal for everybody.

The thing about getting a puppy is that a puppy, or any pet, is not a toy you play with until you are bored with it then just let it into a toy box. A puppy is a living thing that needs love and care; and until you are willing to help in that loving and caring, your parents are right. Find ways to show them that you can do things to help every day without being asked. When they trust you, maybe they will trust you to walk the dog so that it does not pee on the rug and eat your mom's shoes. Then call me and we can go as a family to get you a puppy from the animal shelter.

SEND QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad at or Rabbi Marc Gellman, Temple Beth Torah, 35 Bagatelle Rd., Melville, NY 11747.

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