Saturday, April 11, 2009


Part 2 of 4...

What does it mean to have a questioning personality?

Have you ever had a really great teacher, a teacher who loved your questions, whom you could always count on to at least try to answer you? It's really hard to be a wise child unless there are some wise grownups around to help you.
~Joy Levitt (p. 49)

The wicked child might not be wicked at all; perhaps she is just expressing our doubts--what is the purpose of all this trouble that you put yourself through at Pesach? Are you really working for freedom? Annoyed at someone who give voice to our own fears, we react harshly to hide our feelings. The wicked child becomes our scapegoat.
~Michael Strassfeld (p. 50)

The word tam has many connotations ranging from stupid, to simple, to innocent, to pious. How would you define this child? Is a person who asks a basic question stupid or just young or curious? Do you ever hold back from asking a question for fear that you ought to know the answer, that the question itself is too simple? In the Torah, Noah, Jacob, and Job are all called tam. Does this mean they were pious or simple?
~Joy Levitt (p. 51)

Sometimes we are silenced because we become convinced that we have nothing to contribute or that those we might address do not want to hear from us. Sometimes we are silenced because we believe that what we say will make no difference or ever perhaps may make things worse. To come out of our silence, we need to recognize that people care about us and value who we are and what we can do. Each of us is sometimes silenced, and each of us can help end the silence of others.
~David Teutsch (p. 51)

(Source: A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah; Levitt, Rabbi Joy and Strassfeld, Rabbi Michael (ed); Reconstructionist Press; Elkins Park, PA; 2007)

Rabbi Israel Salanter says, "We have all the four children in each of us." (Passover Haggadah: The Feast of Freedom; The Rabbinical Assembly; USCJ)

I. What do you think the four different children represent?

II. How would you characterize their questions? What do you think they are really asking?

III. What are the four NEW questions that you would ask?

[Note: see my earlier posting on the "Four Generations."]

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