"Why?" This small, three-letter word always holds a world of curiosity. Often it is accompanied by pain, and almost inevitably contains a dose of frustration.

Sometimes I hear it emanating from deep within. Sometimes I hear it from my cynical voice after a particularly overwhelming or tiring day. Sometimes it originates from a place of sorrow after encountering a tragedy or hardship too difficult to bear.

I'm always hearing "why" from my children. Ranging in age from three to fifteen years, the question issues from them in all shapes, from why does she have to put on an extra sweater, to why he must finish his dinner before snacking, to why her bedtime is so much earlier than "all" her other classmates.

I hear "why" from my husband too. Why can't he leave his books or papers spread over the dining room table? Or, why does everything have to be organized so much in advance?

And I hear "why" from my adult students at my Institute of Torah Study almost every time I deliver a class or lecture. Why does Jewish law require married women to cover their hair? Why can't we flick on a light switch on Shabbat? Why can't we wear clothing containing a mixture of wool and linen?

I like to pride myself that I usually have calm, rational and enlightening responses to these queries.

I might sit my children down to a long explanation on how nutritious, well-balanced meals and sufficient sleep is important for their health and well-being.

I might explain to my husband the advantages of orderliness or how being organized helps make things easier later on.

And, I might explain to my students the beauty of the Jewish value of modesty or how refraining from creative work on Shabbat can rejuvenate us for the entire week ahead.

But every so often, these rational explanations fall short. I'll explain and explain until I'm blue in the face only to encounter yet another barrage of counter-arguments.

I'll sometimes be drawn into a long discussion, which turns into an explosive argument, only for both of us to land at square one with each not having moved an inch towards the other's perspective.

I've learned, from experience, that rather than trying to convince my husband or children of the obvious merits of my sensible thinking, it's sometimes better to simply answer, "Honey, please, just do it for me."

So I won't convince my husband how nice the mahogany dining table looks bare and gleaming, because he obviously doesn't appreciate that. He sees it instead as a viable option for storage and no discussion will convince him differently. But, if every time he collects his papers from the table he is demonstrating to me how much he cares about my wants and how important I am in his life, the entire picture changes. He is willing to make such sacrifices in order to prove to me his love.

And I won't convince my child why he needs an extra sweater because, though I am feeling chilly, he obviously is not. But he will agree to "do Mommy a favor." Because, after all, that's just a small way to show his appreciation for all the many things that Mommy does for him.

As to my students or the cynical voice within me, when rational arguments just won't satisfy the incessant "why", I'll say: "Because this is how G‑d wants it."

I don't understand why I can't buy that really nice suit just because it contains both wool and linen. But, hey, if it pleases You, G‑d, I'll do without. After all, it's the least I can do to show You my gratitude for all the good that You shower upon me.

At first, I used to think that such a response to my children, husband or students was a real cop-out. After all, how could any intelligent, self-respecting woman allow herself to sound so squeamishly "emotional" and "irrational"?

But then I realized that while such a response does not emphasize the rational merits of my argument, it underlines why, in fact, I am in the discussion to begin with. It brings to light the very core of the relationship between me and my children or husband, and between me or my students and G‑d, irrespective of the specific issue at hand.

It brings to the surface a bond between us that reaches deep down to our essential connection, a connection that is so deep, it surpasses even logic.

While reason is limited to each individual's experience and conception of reality, this touches the infinite bond between me and my children, me and my husband, and us and G‑d.

And that bond is something that no circumstance or no argument can ever interfere with.

(And by the way, in the rare situation that my child still won't eat his peas even after I plead, "Just do it for me!", I can always resort to the age-old method of sending him to his room. After all, I still am his mother!)