On February 3, 2017 ( 7th of Shevat 5777), which was the Friday before we read Parshat Bo in Shul that year, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote what I would consider one of his most important Blogs to appear on these pages of TOI. I say that for a number of reasons, two of which I will discuss in this Blog.
Firstly, let’s look at the Hebrew date it was published.
There were four number sevens that appear. One number 7 is the date in Shevat. The final three 7’s appear as a series of three in the year 5777.
Regarding the first number 7, Rabbi Sacks passed away on that date in November this past year.
Sir Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks (Hebrew: יעקב צבי זקס, romanized: Ya’akov Tzvi Zaks; 8 March 1948 – 7 November 2020) was a British Orthodox rabbi, philosopher, theologian, author, and politician.
Regarding the series of three sevens, that could have been a hint to the passing of three other Torah giants all on the same day-
Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik (also known as Reb Dovid or Rav Dovid; October 21, 1921 – January 31, 2021) (Hebrew: משולם דוד סולובייצ’יק) was a Haredi rabbi and rosh yeshiva of one of the branches of the Brisk yeshivas in Jerusalem, Israel
Rabbi Scheiber died on January 31, 2021, just 4 hours after the passing of Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, rosh yeshivas Brisk.
Abraham Joshua Twerski (Hebrew: אֲבְרָהָם יְהוֹשֻׁע טווערסקי; October 6, 1930 – January 31, 2021) was an Israeli-American Hasidic rabbi, a scion of the Chernobyl Hasidic dynasty, and a psychiatrist specializing in substance abuse.
Secondly, let’s look at the Blog’s Contents
The Blog was headed – The Necessity Of Asking Questions
The subheading read – The Jewish priority of education, religious study, life-long learning, and the necessity of asking questions
In the Blog, Rabbi Sacks points out the following-
What is fascinating, is the way the Torah emphasizes the fact that children must ask questions. Two of the three passages in our parsha speak of this:
And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when He struck down the Egyptians.’ (Ex. 12:26-27)
In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Ex. 13:14)
There is another passage later in the Torah that also speaks of question asked by a child:
In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (Deut. 6:20-21)
The other passage in the parsha, the only one that does not mention a question, is:
On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’
Rabbi Sacks then sums this up-
They are the four children: one wise, one wicked or rebellious, one simple and “one who does not know how to ask.” Reading them together the sages came to the conclusion that  children should ask questions,  the Pesach narrative must be constructed in response to, and begin with, questions asked by a child,  it is the duty of a parent to encourage his or her children to ask questions, and the child who does not yet know how to ask should be taught to ask.
Included in his Blog was the following short tribute to Rabbi Twerski-
In yeshiva, the highest accolade is to ask a good question: Du fregst a gutte kashe. Rabbi Abraham Twerski, a deeply religious psychiatrist, tells of how when he was young, his teacher would relish challenges to his arguments. In his broken English, he would say, “You right! You 100 prozent right! Now I show you where you wrong.
All of these abovementioned four great Rabbis have passed away so close to each other, and now since we are all G-d’s children we should be asking Hashem why this had to happen?
In fact, since Pesach is only weeks away, this would be a good opportunity to spend some extra time teaching our children how to ask these four questions as well as many others which the children have.
One question our grandchildren are always asking my wife and I is – When will the Corona go away? I really wish we could tell them the answer.
To All Families Of Those Abovementioned Ravs As Well As All Of You Who Have Lost Loved Ones Recently-
MAY HASHEM COMFORT YOU AMONG THE MOURNERS OF TZION AND YERUSHALAYIM