A student asked the rabbi, "Why do you answer so many questions with a question?" To which the rabbi replied, "How should I answer?"
Having experienced the transformational holiday of Passover last week, I've been thinking a lot about the value of questions and questioning–especially since questions play such a central role in the seder. The tradition invites the youngest person at the table to read or sing the beloved "Four Questions." Each of the four asks why and how the Passover seder differs from all the other nights of the year. So (a question here), why ask? Why not just provide the answers right away?
Aha--and therein lies the point… which is that it’s the asking, not the telling, that matters most!
Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel once said, "We have learned from history that people are united by questions. The answers [are what] divide them." To question is human nature. Being inquisitive is baked into our DNA and is expressed from the moment we can translate our curiosity into words. A toddler will ask, "What's this? What's that?" all day long, and eventually, the whats will become an endless stream of whys. And that may seem annoying at times, but we know it’s a great sign. It indicates a natural desire to understand. To know. When we witness that in a child, we hope it will begin a love affair with learning that will never end.