The best quote about these times comes from another time. These words were spoken by the son of Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln, who were pioneer farmers from Hodgenville, Kentucky. Their son, who spoke these words and who preserved our union, was born on Febr. 12, 1809. These were his words, "We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic cords of memory stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land will yet swell the chorus of the union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
And let us say, Amen.
And now, more kid's questions about God …
Q: Do you ever get sick of reading prayers?
A: Nope. I never get sick of reading prayers because every kind of prayer teaches me something. I never get sick of learning. There are lots of payers, but there are only four kinds of prayers: thanks, gimme, oops and wow!
"Thanks prayers" teach me to give thanks to God for all my blessings. A blessing is a gift you did not deserve. There are so many blessings that have come to me in my life that I never get sick of remembering them and thanking God for them. The days when I do selfish things are the days that I forgot to say a thanks prayer.
"Gimme prayers" ask God for something. The tricky part of saying a gimme prayer is to ask God for something you cannot get for yourself with hard work. Asking God to give you some new stuff is almost always a bad gimme prayer. Asking God to heal somebody you love who is sick is always a good gimme prayer.
"Oops! prayers" are those that tell God that I am sorry for doing something bad to someone else. A bad thing is also called a sin. A sin is a bad thing that God has seen you do. "Oops! prayers" are the first thing we do to turn our lives around and get rid of the sins we do. We admit the sin to God in a prayer. The next part of getting rid of sin is to admit our sin to the people we have hurt, and the third thing is to not repeat the sin. "Oops!" is the beginning of our path to goodness.
"Wow! prayers" are those that don't ask God for anything. We just tell God how wonderful the world is, how beautiful and perfect it is. Whatever you say after you see a rainbow is a "wow! prayer."
So that is why I never get sick of saying prayers. Prayers make me better for God. Prayers make me better for my family. Prayers make me better for my friends. Prayers make me better for the world.
Q: How many buildings are there in the world?
A: Lots. Listen to me. You clearly have a future in real estate. In theology, not so much.
Q: How did God create humans?
A: God made us somehow. Maybe God made us by making evolution that turned bugs into monkeys and monkeys into us. Maybe the Bible is right that God made us by making the first people out of red clay, then breathing life into them. You can pick which you think is right. It does not matter because however God made us, we are made special by God, meaning we are holy. We are holy because we are made in the image of God. Every one of us is holy. No person is more holy than anyone else. There is a little piece of God inside each and every one of us. That part of God inside us is called our soul. Our bodies plus our souls is all we are, but it is enough.
Q: Why was the world started?
A: God was lonely and needed partners.
And then in the midst of these deep theological questions from little kids, there were these questions that helped me to remember that kids are not little theologians. Kids are just kids and that is just fine by me:
- Who invented candy?
- Who invented mashed potatoes?
- Can I meet Taylor Swift?
- Who invented homework?
And then there is my favorite. Both my assistant rabbis are women and the cantor in my synagogue is also a woman. A little girl asked,
Can a man be a rabbi?
God bless the little children.
SEND QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rabbi Marc Gellman, Temple Beth Torah, 35 Bagatelle Rd., Melville, NY 11747.