A few years ago, someone in Shul asked me a shaila.
I knew I did not know the answer, and felt a bit embarrassed about not knowing. But I was standing next to some volumes of Mishna Berura, including the volume I knew dealt with his question. I pulled it off the shelf and proceeded to look for the chapter that dealt with the topic, still slightly embarrassed at not having the answer on immediate retrieval at the tip of my tongue.
But that’s not how the questioner saw it. He made that “hunh” impressed sound, ans said, “It’s just amazing how you know where to look, and what page to go to, to find the answer.”
Now I did not consider that a full pass. I still feel I should review Halachic books more often. The Gemara says that the level of Torah one should achieve is that when someone asks you question, you don’t have to stutter in answering the question. But he did have a point.
The ability to search is a skill all its own. The invention of the Search Engine has taken the magic away from this feat. But there is still plenty of life where the knowledge to just know where to look is the success.
“What’s the meaning of life?” Do you know what Sefer to open that would help you answer that question in a Jewish manner?