Discussing Micah's question

Dear Families,
When we talk with our children about faith in God, they ask us so many questions that we often cannot answer. Judaism is a great religion with so many guidelines and things that we are supposed to do.
There are 613 Commandments — that’s a lot to do. Throughout our history, prophets, judges and rabbis have tried to sum up how to lead a good life and do good for others.   The prophet Micah suggested three simple things to do, but these things include everything.

Only This (Micah 6:8)

Josh Zweiback & Steve Brodsky
What does God demand of you?  Only this, only this.  (2)
Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your o-d  (2)
U-mah A-do-nai do-resh mim-cha
Ki im a-sot mish-pat  V’a-ha-vat che-sed
V’hatz-nei-ah le-chet im E-lo-he-cha

Whenever we want to understand words from the Bible, we begin by asking questions.  Micah asked the first question, “What does God demand of you?” What is Micah trying to learn? What does he ask about demands — does that means that God expects us to do these things whether we want to or not? Do we have a choice to behave the right way?
After we question Micah’s question, more come to mind. Think and talk about these questions with your family:

  • Why does Micah respond to the question, “Only this”? Is it simple?
  • What does it mean to “do justly”? How do we act in a just manner? What does it mean to be fair to others?
  • What is mercy? How do we act with mercy? Why does Micah say to “love mercy”?  Is that different than treating people with mercy?
  • Being humble, showing humility is an important Jewish value. What does it mean?   What does it look like? Why does Micah say to “walk humbly”? How do we walk with God?
  • Why just these three things? How do they relate to everything else we should be doing? Is this really enough?

How can we use this song in our lives? Sometimes when we wonder how we should be acting, this song may come to mind. There are so many things we need to remember — this makes it easy to sum up the really important things to do.
Laura Seymour is the director of camping services for the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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