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Counting the Omer with

Day 42 — Asking Pertinent Questions

Shoel K’Inyan • שואל כענין

By Michelle Princenthal, Agoura Hills, CA

David Yarus, New York, NY, representing our Mussar Millennials, says, 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. -Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy.
David Yarus, New York, NY, representing our Mussar Millennials, says, "42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything." -Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Can We Change the World By Asking Pertinent Questions?

I believe we can!

Every day, in every aspect of our society, people are struggling to speak and listen to one another. They struggle to have effective dialog and respectful conversations. Families argue, colleagues have heated debates, and politicians attack each other in dishonorable disputes. Winning seems to be the objective — convincing the others that they are wrong and we are right.

What if all of our important verbal exchanges consisted entirely of asking each other questions, then silently listening? Questions such as:

  • How do you feel about that?
  • How could the situation be improved upon?
  • Why do you feel this way?
  • What do you suggest could be done to solve this problem?
  • What can I do to help?

What if we listened in contemplative silence while others expressed their perspective?
How would it feel to be heard when expressing our views?
Would we feel honored and respected?
Is it possible to understand another's perspective, even when we disagree?
Would we be more likely to distance ourselves from anger?
Would we become more patient with each other?
Would we have an opportunity to hear each other more deeply?
Could there be greater understanding between those with diverse backgrounds or views?
What other possibilities would open to us?

You might feel that this is a simplistic answer to a complicated problem. However, questions are powerful tools. They give us the opportunity to share stories, feelings, views, perspectives, and values. This sharing can help us to develop new connections and discover new perspectives within ourselves, our families, workplaces, communities, and even the world.

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