By Michael Freund, JPost—
As Jews around the world gather together to celebrate the onset of Passover, we will all sit down to participate in one of the most intriguing religious rituals ever conceived.
Whereas many of the other acts that have come to define Jewishness center around certainty, the Seder is at its core an exercise in questioning, probing the extent of our knowledge and inspiring ourselves and others to explore the unknown.
From the Four Questions posed by the youngest at the table to various other elements of the Haggadah, such as dipping parsley in salt water or repeatedly covering and uncovering the matzah, we strive to pique the interest of young and old alike, hoping to arouse the participants’ curiosity.
Some might view this merely as a means of keeping people awake and involved as they make their way through the evening. But that is only one small part of a very important and much larger story.
Indeed, questions can be bothersome things. Life is often strewn with them in areas ranging from the practical to the philosophical, from the mundane to the metaphysical. Frequently, without even realizing it, we are asking and answering our own queries on topics such as what to eat for dinner, whom to telephone or what book to read. But then there are the weightier issues – from where to live and what profession to pursue to how best to raise our children – things that obviously challenge and sometimes even intimidate the greatest of minds.
After all, in our day and age especially, who likes questions? Google has built an entire industry around the idea of providing us with a range of instant answers. But questioning and debating, deliberating and delving are what enable us to grow. So rather than shying away from doubt and uncertainty we all know deep down that it is best to confront it head-on.
Hence, by contextualizing rituals with questions at the Seder, we are sending a powerful educational message: never fear or falter in the pursuit of truth. Continue Reading….