Questions, Questions

The former wife of a friend of mine once said she felt that talking to me was like being interviewed. She said talking to her husband was like being interrogated. I guess it is no wonder their marriage did not work out. Anyway, I am pretty sure she did not mean the comment about me as a compliment. I don’t care.

While I won’t find myself in the Small Talk Hall of Fame (where do you think such a place would exist – hmmm), I am good at asking questions. This skill has served me well over the course of my life. People generally love to talk about themselves. It is often their favorite subject. When I was on the dating scene, I spent many a first date asking questions and listening. Many girls appreciated it even if she or I did not want a second.

Asking questions is essentially what I do for a living. Or at least it’s one of my favorite parts of my job. I enjoy engaging the students in discussion. Often the discussion will stem from a piece of literature and then get into something on a deeper more personal level. For example, in Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallfower, there are a number of big issues. However, it ultimately comes down to accepting one’s self and others. This is a ripe area for questioning.


Book Cover - courtesy of

Book Cover – courtesy of


This past weekend my wife and I have been preparing for the holiday of Passover. Anyone who celebrates the holiday can vouch for the fact that it is a labor intensive holiday (not to mention expensive). It involves cleaning, changing dishes, and a lot of cooking. However, ultimately, the holiday is about the retelling of the Jews exodus from Egypt.

This retelling of the story happens the first two nights of the holiday (unless you live in Israel where it takes place only on the first night) at what is called a Seder. Seder can be translated into order. There is an exact order how the night goes between the retelling and the food that is to be eaten as part of the tale. We Jews are big on rules and instructions.

Seder table courtesy of

Seder table courtesy of

Anyway, some things are done at the Seder simply to inspire questions from the children.  For example, the person leading the Seder (customs vary) has a pillow on his chair, so he can recline.  A natural question a child may have is, “Why do you have a pillow on your chair?” The child is told that we are no longer slaves but free men and women. In fact, this is how royalty used to eat.

The Seder is a chance for a child to be engaged. Not only can a child ask away, it is encouraged and enlivens a Seder.

So, as my family and I sit down to our Seder, I look forward to hearing questions from BR and SJ. Yes, part of the reason is so that I know the private school tuition is going somewhere, but also it will give us a chance to talk, consider, and learn together.

To those who celebrate, Chag Sameach.  To those who are looking forward to the holiday of Easter, Happy Holiday.

Any more questions?

27 thoughts on “Questions, Questions

  1. Happy Passover to you and your family! As one interviewer to another, I’m more comfy asking the questions! Do you still ask your wife questions and listen patiently for the answers? If so, will you call my hubs and give him a heads up?! xo

    • I think I am going to take a pass on your question.
      To be honest, I am probably not as good as I used to be. According to my wife, “I don’t always listen so patiently.”
      So I am afraid you are going to have to deal with hubs as is.

  2. You do ask a lot of questions, I always feel badly in correspondence with you that it seems to be more about me! I think that it’s great that there is time during Seder to ask questions and expand the knowledge. Enjoy finding out if the tuition is paying off! 🙂

  3. Yes! (raising my hand) Why is it an expensive holiday?

    Chag Sameach! I hope you have a wonderful time with your family!

    I can’t imagine opening the floor to my children for questioning. Anytime this has happened things get very off course!!!

    • Things do get off course sometimes but that’s okay. It gives an opportunity to teach and learn. Also if things to get to far astray and it is before the meal, you can always use that to get the children to hold off. “Hold off on that or we won’t ever eat.”
      It is very expensive because we turn over our kitchens in terms of the food (and dishes but we already have those from past years). The kosher for Passover food tends to be pricey.
      If you have any more questions – feel free to ask.

  4. I love this post! I’ve been hearing about the Passover for years, but only in a second-person sort of way. Why is it labor intensive? Why do you need different dishes? Are there specific foods that you eat every year? What does it teach you about God?

    Sheesh! You thought the children were bad, but apparently they’re nothing compared to a Protestant! 🙂 And I’m glad that tuition is showing some fruit.

    • I had a feeling you might like this post, and I am glad you did. I appreciate the questions – even from a Protestant. It is nice to learn more about each other’s faith.
      It is labor intensive because we must replace both sets (meat and dairy) dishes. In addition, we must get all new food. The food must be certified kosher for Passover. The goal is to rid ourselves of Chametz (essentially levened items) and this also requires cleaning the house to ensure it has not been left somewhere. I’ve heard it said that Chametz represents ego and part of the goal of the holiday is humility. We do have traditional foods that we eat every year. Many traditions vary with your family customs. Anyway, every table should have a Seder plate. One item that goes on a Seder plate is called charoset. It is a combination of wine, nuts and apples (no set recipe – can be done differently). Anyway, we are to eat the charoset at one point during the Seder. The charoset symbolize the mortar that was used by the Jews when they were slaves in Egypt. In reality, the Seder retells the story of the Exodus of Egypt. This is a central tenant in Judiasm in general. We are commanded to recall it regularly. Look at the 10 commandments – I am the G-d who took you out of Egypt.
      I hope this helps to answer some of your questions.

      • Wow, that is a lot of preparation! And I love the humility aspect of the holiday–isn’t that the point for all of us as we seek Him? Beautiful.

          • Exactly! I love how he talked to God, just like a normal person talks to his normal friend. Except his normal friend could blow up a city with one lift of the eyebrow…none of my friends can do that.

            I don’t think.

          • I am pretty sure they can’t too. I never read Carrie. However, I think she could do this.

  5. A few years ago, our church had a speaker, a Messianic Jew, come and present the Seder. He explained in detail the symbolism of the food and tradition. It was such a beautiful ceremony. I’m sure it is even more beautiful when shared with loved ones. Happy Passover. Blessings to your family.

  6. Chag Sameach. Happy Passover Larry! I’m glad you wrote this post, it’s great learning about each other’s faith! You know, I would’ve been the person; asking “why are there pillows?”, silly me! 🙂 I also didn’t know this could be an expensive and labor intensive Holiday but I guess when you need specific food; it can get very expensive! … btw, I can’t believe the lady said she felt as if she was an interview when she was talking to you, I find it hard to believe someone would describe you like this! please don’t listen to such negative comments! 🙂 Happy passover Larry to you and your family!

    • Thanks so much for the holiday wishes. I am glad I was able to help you learn a little about my religion.
      A person like you who is so into recipes would probably love this holiday – many opportunities for your creativity.
      I did not take her seriously. That’s her problem. She was a nice person.

      • 🙂 Thank you, I’m sure I would love it for the recipes too! 🙂 You know, I still haven’t been able to find a “dessert recipe” for this weekend! I might just bake a regular chocolate cake (I think I’m just too lazy this week!) 🙂

  7. I’m always fascinated by people and ask a lot of questions, too. It’s fun! Chag Sameach to you too.

  8. Nice story reflecting upon your personal life and religion. Questions do indeed draw people into a conversation and are much appreciated. People are often pleased when somebody takes such a proactive interest in their lives.

  9. Here’s a question:
    Why do we make the kids ask these questions, when in practice, that just means that these four obvious questions are never going to intrigue our kids? Instead, we end up answering a gazillion other questions (Why do we have to ask these questions every year? Why do we always have to eat this yucky food? Why do we always have to do one seder with our cousins and the other with friends? Why can’t we just finish fast? Qhy do I never get to say everything I learned in school? Why do you always rush me? Why can’t we ever start on time?)

    Just kidding.
    Seriously, though: Is interrogating people a Y-linked thing? Because my husband also does it – to me and others. Only difference is, I tell him when to stop and others are uncomfortable doing so. Or maybe only I notice it, and everyone else thinks he’s friendly. I’m not sure . . .

    • I like the questions. It inspires debate and learning. The book stays static but the conversation and the people change. And it sounds like somebody is not too fond of Pesach.
      You are tough one. I think most people see it as friendly. Maybe, men do ask more questions – have not thought about that one.

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