Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Night of Questions

I am standing in the kitchen having a discussion with my son while I work. We are talking about the makkos, and my ever so curious boy has a lot of questions. He really wants to understand.

We go through the makkos one by one and I try my best to describe each of them to him.

I get up to makkas arov, that of the wild animals.

My son has a lot of questions.

"Why did the animals hurt the mitzriyim?" he wants to know.

I give a simple explanation.

"They were so mean to the yidden. The mitzriyim made them work really hard and they hurt them. So Hashem punished them. Are we allowed to hurt? Nooo. We have to be nice to other kinderlach."

I am feeling proud of myself for sticking that little lesson into our conversation.

But my son has his own take on it.

"Hashem is so mean." he tells me.

I stand there open-mouthed for a minute and I just want to pinch my son's cute cheeks.

I try to explain it to him a little more. I explain how Hashem punishes anyone who hurts the yidden and how hard the mitzriyim made the yidden work. How they hit them and the yidden used to cry.

I describe the different animals and what they did to hurt the mitzriyim. How some animals kicked with their feet and how the elephants hit with their trunks.

My son is so "there"; it seems like he is living the story along with those back in mitzrayim.

And then he says, "Mommy, who punished the animals?"

He realizes that no one gets away scot-free. And if the animals hurt the mitzriyim as a punishment for hurting the yidden, then the next step is that the animals must get punished too.

I am done. My mind is racing. I love the way this little kid thinks.

And I wonder...when do WE stop thinking and asking? When do our minds stop questioning and just accept everything we are told?

And more importantly...why?

Why don't we continue to ask?

In Judaism, not only aren't we afraid of questions, but questions are encouraged. We are supposed to ask, inquire, delve, learn and hopefully come out with a deeper understanding and feel more satisfied inside.

On Pesach night, parents do so many unusual things.


Kidei that the little children should ask.

But it's not only the little ones who should be asking.

All of us, no matter our age, should be encouraged to open our minds and our hearts and ask those questions that have be bothering us for some time. And if the Seder night is not the right time for it, save it for another time, but don't forget about it.

So hold on to this message...and never stop asking.

Because the more we ask, the more chances we have for answers. And answers add so much depth and meaning to our lives.

The Seder night is a night of questions. It's a time to think and a time to ask.

May you be able to achieve clarity amidst confusion, depth when you are searching for meaning and may you always find the right people to ask your questions to. And most of all...may you be able to get answers that satisfy you and make you feel like you can keep asking. There is so much growth you can attain when you ask and you learn!


  1. You're right - answers add so much depth and meaning to our lives. I learned that from you. I think you're the one who taught me that it's okay to ask :). And I'm happy I did.

  2. Your son is adorable--you can tell him Hashem punished the animals with Makkas Dever.

    Great message, thanks so much!

  3. Anon-thank you for reminding me that I was the one who taught you that it's okay to ask. I think that is one of the most important lessons I ever could have given over. I'm happy you learned that from me. :)

    Michal-thank you, that's a really good answer. When my son is mature enough to hear it, I can try to explain to him what it means that the animals died. He's almost four years old (which is why I thought that discussion with him was too cute for someone his age and I was amazed by his questions!) so death is not something he can fully understand...but he does understand it on some level.


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