The Gates of Curiosity Open

As we continue to extend our prayers and begin to mobilize our collective efforts to help our brothers and sisters in Houston and on the Gulf Coast, we reflect today on curiosity — the character trait of having the interest and the desire to encounter something new — and being open to new experiences.

“We must help our children understand why we do what we do at the Passover seder. By telling them that “it is because of this,” they will come to understand that we celebrate Passover at that time when the matzah and maror are placed on the table. We are explaining to them what it is that makes this moment special for us as we tell our story of the Exodus. In this way we are able to open a discussion on the uniqueness of the seder, itself — with the particular symbols that extend our interest and curiosity. In a sense, we point out the symbols and the special-ness of the night so that every child will become interested and curious.”
-Kos Shel Eliyahu commentary on the Passover Haggadah

How do we encounter the world — and how can we constantly stimulate fresh perspectives in order to enrich our experiences and the experiences of those around us?

Do we remember seeing the wonder on the faces of young children as they whoop, and run to discover something new? Or when we see the explorations of a puppy or a baby animal, we are filled with an oceanic feeling of connection, exhilaration, and joy? Each time when we return our Torah to the ark, we sing — “renew our days as in days of old” — and Abraham Joshua Heschel connects this phrase to achieving wonder in our life — how can we recover these incredible feelings on a more regular basis, for ourselves — how do we cultivate our curiosity, reminding us when we were once possessed by the abandon of childhood?

Watch a video of a cute baby animal doing something adorable. Take two minutes out of your routine today to ask yourself a question — what would you like to know? What is interesting to you, outside of your everyday obligations? — and then take ten more minutes to explore answers to this question — at the library, on the internet, by consulting with a friend? Remember a happy incident from when you were younger. Can you recover those feelings today? Write down your bucket lists — where would you like to travel, whom would you like to meet? What books would you like to read? Who would we still like to be?