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Nixon’s Accusations of Jewish Insecurity
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 7
Lone Soldier

 

The Paradoxes of Oil as a Guide for Living
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Rock Promoter and the Genesis of the Public Chanukah Menorah
Ruvi New

 

Why the Tea Party Resonates with Human Dignity
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 6
Lone Soldier

 

The Lone Soldier Week 5
Lone Soldier

 

Jewish Ingratitude to Christians
Shmuley Boteach

 

No Gelt, No Glory
Simcha Weinstein

 

The Lone Soldier Week 4
Lone Soldier

 

A Time to Hate
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 3
Lone Soldier

 

“My Heart Swells with Joy”
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Lone Soldier Week 2
Lone Soldier

 

How Obama Lost his Magic
Shmuley Boteach

 

Rise of the Religious Charlatans
Shmuley Boteach

 

Rupert Murdoch: The 'Soft War' Against Israel
Rupert Murdoch

 

Do We Still Possess the Power to Choose?
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 1
Lone Soldier

 

A Spiritual Night in Hebron
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Religious-Industrial Complex
Shmuley Boteach

 

Ahmedenijad, Media Rock Star
Shmuley Boteach

 

As the Economy Crumbles, Obama Makes Middle East Peace.
Shmuley Boteach

 

When Pastors who Burn Bibles Become Celebrities
Shmuley Boteach

 

If an American President Were Muslim, Would we Care?
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Purpose in Debating Christopher Hitchens on the Afterlife
Shmuley Boteach

 

Suicide Bombers in Heaven? Imam Rauf Won’t Say No
Shmuley Boteach

 

Extravagant Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs Humiliate the Jewish Community
Shmuley Boteach

 

When Psycho Flight Attendants Become Heroes
Shmuley Boteach

 

Iran’s Descent Into Barbarity
Shmuley Boteach

 

Let the Families of 9/11 Decide the Fate of the Ground Zero Mosque
Shmuley Boteach

 

Time Magazine’s Bizarre Assault on Large Families
Shmuley Boteach

 

Tom Friedman’s Soft Spot for Terrorist Fadlallah
Shmuley Boteach

 

Kaddafi’s Ship to Gaza, and His Ark in New Jersey.
Shmuley Boteach

 

What We Lose When We Win
Shmuley Boteach

 

Al Gore’s Moral Confusion
Shmuley Boteach

 

Peace and Zealotry
Simon Jacobson

 

Theater review - 'The Adventures of Hershele Ostropolyer'
Yudi Lewis

 

What McChrystal’s Firing Says about American Values
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Rebbe and Viktor Frankl
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Michael Jackson’s Life Could have Been Saved
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Psychiatrist and The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

BP, Kaddafi, and Britain’s Oil Comeuppance
Shmuley Boteach

 

Helen Thomas and the Open Season on the Jews
Shmuley Boteach

 

Did the Lubavitcher Rebbe Con the World?
Shmuley Boteach

 

Fergie’s Fall
Simcha Weinstein

 

Sderot Report
Noam Bedein

 

Why All The Stress?
Mimi Hecht

 

Obama’s Jewish Charm Offensive
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Jewish Woman’s 10 Commandments
Mimi Hecht

 

Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?
Shmuley Boteach

 

South Park: Seriously Funny
Simcha Weinstein

 

Mother’s Day for the Childless
Mimi Hecht

 

Open Letter to J-Street after their Attack on Elie Wiesel
Shmuley Boteach

 

Life and Death
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Religion’s Summer of Discontent
Shmuley Boteach

 

Is Israel Being Stubborn?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When a Pope Needs Friends
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Five Cents
Mimi Hecht

 

Condemn His Report, But Welcome Goldstone
Shmuley Boteach

 

What The President Does Not Understand
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Lesson from Zaidy and Nona
Mimi Hecht

 

Does a Kosher Butcher’s Fraud Mandate a Life Sentence?
Shmuley Boteach

 

Don’t Kill the Love
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Fallible Pope, and Imperfect Church
Shmuley Boteach

 

Obama and the Deafening Silence of American Jewry
Shmuley Boteach

 

Obama's Hospitality: A Question of Character
Shmuley Boteach

 

From Globalism to Parochialism
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Matzah Moms
Mimi Hecht

 

Obama's Bullying of Israel
Shmuley Boteach

 

A Fashionable Promise
Mimi Hecht

 

Why America Has No Chief Rabbi
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Malady of a Maid
Mimi Hecht

 

The Human Miracle
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When Court Jews Defend Moral Cowards
Shmuley Boteach

 

Is it Okay to be Fat?
Mimi Hecht

 

Why America is the Most Depressed Nation on Earth
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Blackberry Baby
Mimi Hecht

 

Never Again !
Shmully Hecht

 

Heads over Heels
Mimi Hecht

 

The Death of Conviction
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

How to Deal with Destructive Emotions
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When You Are Not in the Mood of Your Spouse
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Discovering Your Depth
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Consciousness of Freedom
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Ten Ways to Destroy Your Life
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Enemy Within
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Are You a Hypocrite?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

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e Freedom o Ak Queion
The Passover questions are intended to avoid repression
By Simon Jacobson
 

What is the healthiest thing you can do for your child to help arm him or her with tools to prevent many of today’s social maladies? As we witness the deep void in many children’s lives today, there is a profound lesson that can be gleaned from a 3000 year old tradition.

In homes across the world, young children begin the Passover Seder by asking the Four Questions. Looking beneath the surface of this custom reveals a powerful universal message regarding freedom for both children and adults. It illuminates an internal deeper dimension of the human need to explore and question, which lies at the very heart of freedom.

Throughout history the silencing of the masses has been a powerful tool employed by monarchs and dictators whose tyrannical rule was threatened by individual expression. In contrast, freedom in America today is essentially based on the right to challenge and to question.

Every unhealthy and dysfunctional experience is always shrouded in silence. Not allowing man to ask, to challenge and to probe is a great crime. It invalidates the individual, demoralizes the psyche and enslaves the free spirit in a superimposed box of distortions.

Religion is perhaps the greatest victim of this malady. Wherever I travel, I meet countless people who have been hurt by “authorities” who have dogmatically imposed religious teachings upon them. Frequently I hear: “I was never allowed to ask questions;” “Do what you’re told or God will get even with you.” The underlying implication is: “Listen, behave, fall in line – conform!”

Asking questions is an essential human quality. Observe an infant beginning to crawl and exploring her little world, or watch a child dismantle his toys. Curiosity is an inherent part of our nature. We naturally dissect our universe; we take things apart; we explore the universe and try to understand what makes it work. The root of all knowledge is the curiosity to know what is beneath, to search for the deeper purpose of existence. Nothing is more freeing than the human need to challenge the status quo and believe that through our exploration things can become better.

Think of the last time you were silenced by a parent, an authority or a spouse. Now think of the last time someone listened to you. Sincerely listened - asking how you are, what are your concerns, what are your questions, what is really bothering you. Is there a more empowering experience than that simple gesture of allowing you to be you – the freedom to express yourself, to allow your true self to emerge? To be uniquely you.

As a child I remember being called upon to ask the Four Questions that begin the Passover Seder. However, it was only in more recent years when my own children asked me the questions, I realized that not all of them are directly and clearly answered. Why encourage children to ask and then not give direct answers?

I have learned that the beauty of the Passover questions is precisely that: Questions. Life’s journey is learning how and what to ask. And after all, the wise question is half the answer. Jewish tradition alters many activities on the Seder night for one reason only: to provoke and motivate children from the youngest age to question, to probe, to ask and ask again. The Four Questions invite children on a journey of inquiry so that from a young age they are imbued with the confidence that asking is not just for adults. From childhood on questions become the cornerstone of the story of Passover, the story of Freedom.

Our education system today can learn a compelling lesson from the Passover questions. We need to encourage children’s natural inquiry so as to cultivate the unique talents in each of our kids rather than boxing them into certain standards. How many casualties result from schools that are generally geared toward the average child, the ones that ”fit in”? What about all those unique individuals that stand out, are different, too advanced, too slow or gifted in different ways? And what does a conformist system do even to the ‘regular’ kid? Is there such a thing as a ‘regular’ kid?

So this Passover demand of your children to ask and challenge. Allow them to express their unique selves. Indeed this also includes the “child within.” As adults we too could use a heavy dose of childhood fascination to explore new horizons, new challenges and greater hopes. To confront fears and wonder if we must remain stuck in our inhibiting circumstances. This year let us teach ourselves and our children to celebrate the beginning of our glorious human quest to search, to question and to discover our unique place and contribution in this world.

Posted on April 3, 2005
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