Seriously. I’d be awful. Mainly because I ask too many questions. It’s what I do.
It’s how I wrap my brain around ideas. It sometimes becomes problematic for me in communication (especially when I’m in new situations or with people with whom I’m new to communicating), because it’s sometimes assumed that i’m questioning the person instead of simply asking questions. I try to control that, explain myself. But sometimes I forget.
And it’s not that I’m against an idea if I’m asking questions about it; I’m literally trying to understand it. And asking questions is the way I do that.
Which strikes me as being really quite Jewish of me. For generations, people have been asking questions and asking questions about the questions (not to mention about the answers). It’s part of the method by which we’ve created a chain of tradition that links back thousands of ideas–by asking questions. Questions of the text…questions of our ancestors…questions to our own time…questions to ourselves…it’s all about asking the right questions.
And it’s the very premise upon which the Pesach seder is based. The 4 Questions were initially created as a guide for those kids that couldn’t come up with questions of their own. At the heart of the hagadah, of the seder ceremony, is the idea that we should be asking ourselves and each other all sorts of questions. How is this night different from all other nights? How do I see myself if I myself came out of Egypt?
And maybe that was the true tragedy of the enslavement of the Israelites. They couldn’t ask questions–they couldn’t take part in that which is at our core. We are Yisrael, the people that struggles with God–and to struggle, one must question. To be slaves–to have the power to question removed–was to destroy our very identity.
That we gained the freedom to ask…the permission to ask…the encouragement to ask. That is a freedom I cherish.