Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Do Not Make This Up

On the way home today from a day of Gan, Raphaela sat in the back in the car and asked, "Mommy, why are there evil people in the world?"

I explained to her that the most treasured aspect of our humanity is our soul, which gives us the ability to make better choices or worse choices.  I explained to her that above all else, our actions define us to the outside, whereas our thoughts define us inside our head.  "Evil people are humans who made the wrong choice, the selfish choice, the decision to hurt other people rather than help them.  But there is also a special place for forgiveness.  A bad choice can be unmade, changed into a better choice.  We are never stuck or trapped by our decisions."

Raphaela refined her question:  "But why does there have to be sad things and bad things in the world?"

Trying to understand the subtle difference between the two queries, I said, "G-d created us, and then gave us this freedom of choice, and also made some sort of decision not to step in every time we do something stupid or hurtful.  There is good as there is bad, there is light as there is dark.  It is our job to think about how our actions affect ourselves, our lives and the people around us. And to learn from our mistakes."

[Thinking to myself, "I can't believe I am having this conversation with a five year old..."]

When we pulled into our parking spot, Raphaela had a plastic cup in her hand which she threw on the ground outside the car.  Very Israeli as things go, unfortunately.  I stopped and looked her in the eyes, and said quietly, "Can we rethink that choice?"  My daughter immediately picked up the cup and said, "You're right Mom, I shouldn't have littered, I will throw this out upstairs."

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