Questions, then and now

Questions, then and now

Passover is the holiday of questions. This particular Passover, there were many questions to be asked — questions of a serious nature. Even I had a few questions for my local assistant rabbi, who we had a lovely meal with. Philosophical and meaningful questions.

His answers to me were spot-on and led to a pretty intense theological discussion with Husband #1. We don’t have many of those conversations, because Husband #1 thinks about all things, religion especially, in terms of black and white or right and wrong. I, on the other hand, am all about the shades of gray (and not the books, come on people. I am trying to be serious). Life is easier when you are like Husband #1, not so much when you have a hard time wrapping your head around certain things.

In any event, my editor had asked me if I wanted the week off because of the holiday and I said, “How can I disappoint my readers?” Yes, it is all about me. I happened upon a column that I wrote 17 years ago for a paper that is no longer with us, and it had a lot of questions in it, so I will be revamping it for the purpose of this week’s column. I hope that you enjoy.

Before I begin, I just want to share a little story with you. I went to Target the other night to purchase a cookie jar; I realized that I had nothing pretty I could use to display all the things I baked for the holiday. I found these cute containers in the front section where everything is supposed to cost $1. Of course, after I checked out, I saw that each container was $3. Nope, not having that, so I went to return it at the return/exchange line. There was only one person in front of me, but there was a whole brouhaha going on, and the minutes were passing by. I looked at the person behind me and said, “Young kids have it easy. When they get frustrated waiting for something, they can scream and yell and have a tantrum. If I start doing that, I will probably get arrested.” I didn’t get arrested and I returned the containers. The end. Sorry, not so exciting, but the question would be, why can’t grown-ups express their dissatisfaction with a situation by yelling and screaming? Yes, I know the answer. I just thought I would ask.

The column I had written all those years ago was about how, no matter where you are in life, people have the same, seemingly harmless but often really annoying questions. “Where are you going to high school?” “Where are you going to Israel for the year?” Where are you going to college?”

You would think that you would have off for four years, but no. “What are you majoring in?” “Do you have a summer job?” “Are you dating anyone?”

And then you graduate from college, you don’t have a job, and you aren’t dating anyone, and then the questions really start to bug you. But then you finally get married and you think everyone will leave you alone, at least for a little while.

“Where are you living?” “When are you planning on starting a family?” “What do you mean you aren’t pregnant — you have just put on some weight?” (That question, surprisingly, was never asked to my face.)

Thank God, you are finally pregnant, and then, “Do you know what you are having?” “Do you have names picked out?” “Are you getting a nurse?” “Are you going to move in with your parents?” Good times.

So, thank God, you have a healthy baby. “Where are you sending him/her to school?” “Do you realize you miss the cutoff by one day?” “What do you mean you haven’t signed up for any programs yet?”

And then you get older and, instead of you being asked the questions, your children are now the ones being asked. The only questions you get asked are, “What medications are you on?” “Why are you limping?” “Have you thought about retirement?” “Has anyone looked at that mole on your face?” “Do you have a DNR?”

Yup, life is full of questions. Some are asked to pass the time and some are well intentioned. Whatever the case may be, may all of your answers be the right ones.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck hopes that everyone had a healthy and enjoyable Passover 2024. When is the next holiday??


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