Tisha B'av reminds us that we can mourn or we can act.
Isidor I. Rabi, the Nobel laureate in physics was once asked, ''Why did you become a scientist, rather than a doctor or lawyer or businessman, like the other immigrant kids in your neighborhood? My mother made me a scientist without ever intending it. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: 'So? Did you learn anything today?' But not my mother. She always asked me a different question. 'Izzy,' she would say, 'did you ask a good question today?' That difference - asking good questions -made me become a scientist!''
I was once at a day school doing a report on the students there. It was time for the morning services and everyone began to pray in Hebrew. About halfway through the service I asked a fourteen-year-old boy if he understood what he was saying. What he said next has stuck with me to this day.
Can we pray to God for a Mercedes Benz? Earlier this week I had a meeting with a young woman who asked, "Are there acceptable and unacceptable things to ask God for in prayer?"