The TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general. refers to four kinds of children and four stages of spiritual evolution:
What does the wise child say? “What are the statutes, the testimonies, and the laws that God has commanded you to do?” This is the one who is so wrapped up the details of the laws, in being right, and in being the favorite, that this person cannot be happy without being an authority. The person is asking for attention, which we can give lovingly.
What does the wicked child say? “What does this service mean to you?” This person wants to know if there is still meaning in the ancient rituals and the retelling of the story. To this person we must respond with any truth in our own understanding, with patience, and with the conviction that we are all still searching.
What does the simple child say? “What is this?” This person sees all the inequalities of the world, its inconsistencies, and injustices. One can say to this person that compassion is a precious thing, and that it must never stop us from acting to make the world a better place.
And the one who does not ask, is perhaps the one most spiritually evolved, who does not even need to ask a question. This person accepts the wholeness of the world in its entirety, enjoying the company of family and friends, and the great blessings of being alive.