Let’s face it. The biggest unknown in a parent’s life is her child. These beings come into the world without papers. We have no idea who they are, where they came from, what they are supposed to do, where they are going, or why they exist at all. So what do we do? We make up stories: stories about them and stories about ourselves; stories about nature, about life, death, and afterlife; stories about fate, karma, destiny, heavens and hells, and rewards and punishments. And we tell these stories to our kids. Except we don’t tell them they are stories. We offer them with the same matter-of-factness that we use when we tell them that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and not to take candy from strangers. The stories I’m talking about aren’t just “once upon a time” stories ― the stories you read to your children at bedtime. The stories I’m talking about include the more subtle stories we tell our children, the stories we pretend aren’t stories at all but facts, truths, and inescapable realities. These are stories that answer the five existential questions:Who am I?Where did I come from?Whe …
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.
He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."
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