The Wisdom of Asking Questions

Yael Eckstein  |  March 15, 2023

Yael Eckstein teaches her son the power of asking questions

“In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.’” — Exodus 13:14

In Judaism, wisdom is something that should be sought, cultivated and taught — no matter what age we are. Enjoy this collection of inspirational thoughts and insights about this godly pursuit.

Isidor (Israel) Rabi, a Jewish physicist who won the Nobel Prize, was once asked what made him become a scientist. He answered, “My mother made me a scientist. When other children came home from school their mothers would ask, ‘What did you learn today?’ But my mother would say, ‘Izzy, did you ask a good question today?’ Learning to ask questions is what made me a scientist.”

Rabi, who went on to discover nuclear magnetic resonance, which is used today in MRIs, understood from an early age the wisdom of asking questions.

The truth is that this attitude toward questions is fundamental to the Jewish faith and education. From Abraham to Moses to Job, asking questions was fundamental to their relationship with God.

From the youngest age, Jewish children are trained to ask questions. The importance of teaching children to ask questions is actually right there in the Bible. Just after the Exodus from Egypt, God commanded the children of Israel to pass on the story to future generations.

The Wisdom of Asking Questions

We read, “In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.’” Why doesn’t the Bible simply command us to teach our children about the Exodus? Because we are supposed to train our children to ask questions.

This is especially true when teaching them to study the Bible. When children ask questions about God’s Word, those are the passages that they remember for the rest of their lives. Some people are afraid to ask questions about the Bible. They wrongly think that asking questions is a sign of doubt. But this is a mistake. God wants us to seek Him and to understand Him the best we can. He wants us to ask questions.

The Hebrew word for “knowledge” is chochma. The letters of chochma split into two words spell ko’ach mah, which translates as “the power of ‘what.’”

The Jewish sages used this play on words to teach us that the key to wisdom is asking questions. The more questions we ask, the more we’ll know, and the better the questions we ask, the greater the wisdom to follow. That’s the wisdom of asking questions!

Your Turn:

What good question can you ask today? Open your Bible and read a chapter carefully. Can you think of any questions? Now go exploring for answers!

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