What Passover Teaches Us About Asking Questions
In today’s special Passover episode, host Yael Eckstein explains the unique and sometimes unusual traditions for the Passover seder that are actually meant to encourage questions. In fact, the telling of the Exodus story begins not with facts and explanations, but with questions. As Yael explains, this time-honored tradition of asking questions during Passover is an annual reminder that God wants us to be lifelong seekers. By asking God our questions and entering Passover with a spirit of curiosity, we are more open to learning, rediscovering, and recommitting to Him on our journey of faith, ultimately, growing ever closer to Him.
Passover, which begins at sundown April 5 through April 13, is one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar and its lessons are for all people of faith. During the week of Passover, the Jewish people read and study sections of the Bible that relate to the Exodus story and God’s directives regarding the observance of Passover. And in today’s episode, Yael specifically focuses on Exodus 12:24-27:
“Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 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.’ Then the people bowed down and worshiped.”
In these verses, we learn that Moses told the people that when their children ask why they are sacrificing the lamb, to tell them how God passed over their houses during the plague of the firstborn. Since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, there is, of course, no Passover sacrifice. Instead, Jews celebrate Passover with a seder, a ritual meal that involves retelling the story of the Exodus.
But God still wants us to ask questions, especially children. In fact, the entire seder meal is structured in a way that encourages questioning. The Jewish people do unusual traditions and eat unusual foods, which prompts questions. The very first text that begins the telling of the Exodus story is called “The Four Questions,” and it is traditionally sung by the youngest child at the seder.
Why? It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s asking questions — not having all the answers — that leads us to more knowledge, new discoveries, and greater wisdom. Learning to ask questions is a skill that we teach our children at the Passover seder and it’s a skill that we all need to develop for life. This episode will show us how!