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How Can We Ask The "Big" Questions?

Posted on 03/01/2013 @ 07:11 PM

What is the difference between wisdom, understanding, and knowledge? In this week’s parsha, Ki Tissa, Adonai chooses Bezalel to be a central figure in building the Mishkan (tabernacle), as he possesses all three key qualities. Rashi explains that they are distinct, as wisdom is something learned from others, understanding comes from within oneself, and knowledge is presented from G-d.

Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge are qualities to aspire to, but there is an inherent challenge posed if we are to achieve all three; we must be in conversation with others. How can we gain wisdom from others if we do not engage in learning and dialogue? How can we grapple with our own understanding if we do not bounce ideas off our friends? And how can we perceive G-d’s gift of knowledge if we have no one with whom it is shared?

This week I attended a training session for the Ask Big Questions initiative. This campaign, initiated on college campuses, poses questions like “Where do you feel at home?” and “For whom are we responsible?” The Big Questions are framed so that the topics matter to all, are answerable, and allow participants to share their own stories (wisdom) and internalize the issue at hand (understanding). The beauty of our BBYO communities is that we can guide our teens through similar experiences, adding in the third layer, knowledge. How do our stories resonate based on the Jewish values we possess?

Our teens are caring and concerned citizens, who are looking for ways to explore the issues that surround them. Asking the “Big” questions provides a forum for those conversations, where they can push themselves and their peers in the search for understanding of how to make the world a better place.

Adonai chose Bezalel for the immense task of creating the Mishkan because he possesses wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Imagine what our teens can achieve if we help foster the development of their spirits to the same level? What big questions can you ask today?

Who created this Shabbat Message? Aleeza Lubin, DJE Midwest Hub

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