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    The fifth question

    question-mark-e1322138609384Let’s have a competition to nominate a fifth question for Pesach.

    Entries would have to begin, “On all other nights…”.

    I and my family would of course be disqualified from entering because I would presumably be the judge. Nonetheless I think I know what suggestion I would make for a fifth question.

    It would come from the haftarah for Shabbat Chol HaMo’ed, Ezekiel 37, the famous chapter of the dry bones. In that chapter the prophet sees a valley full of bones and God asks him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel answers, “O Lord God, only You know!”

    God tells him, “Prophesy over these bones; say to them, ‘Dry bones, listen to the words of the Lord!'”

    Ezekiel’s experience tells me what question I would add to the Mah Nishtanah. I would say, not about bones or bodies but about the existing four questions, “Can these questions live?”

    In other words, are the ancient questions and traditional observances a dead poets’ society, an anachronism in today’s world with its massive global problems, or do they really have the power to inspire and guide a fraught and fragile generation?

    That would be my question. If those who listened to my question worked out some answers for themselves, we could all find ways of walking unafraid through the modern maze.

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