Both asking questions and allowing questions are essential traits of freedom.At the Passover Seder, we tend to focus on the process of asking questions. Equally as important in this context is the receiving of questions. The willingness to allow questions — to create space for them — is also a sign of freedom.
A Free Person Welcomes Questions
That even the Wicked Son is welcomed at the table teaches us that all questions are important, even those that appear to challenge the status quo or our belief structure.
Consider the character traits of someone who doesn’t create space for questions:
Dictator. Tyrant. Autocrat. A Pharaoh.
This is a person who strives to control everything.
Such a person fears not having the answers. This person is uncertain in his position and unconfident. He fears being proven wrong, or being exposed as something other than what he claims to represent.
A person who tries to control everything becomes a slave, forced to do every task.
A person who tries to control every aspect of his message is enslaved by the perceptions and opinions of others.
A person who fears being wrong or not having the answers is not free to take risks.
A person who is uncertain of his position is enslaved by a closed mind.
A person who fears being exposed is not free to evolve and grow.
A person with any of these qualities is not free.
A society with any of these qualities is not free.
A Responsibility and Sign of Freedom
Every privilege carries with it a responsibility. The ability to ask questions is not simply a path to freedom or our right as free human beings.
Questions are essential to the functioning of a free society.
It is our responsibility to ask questions to preserve our freedoms.
And allowing questions — even those that challenge our models and belief systems — is a sign of our personal and collective freedom.
One who is truly confident in her ideas and beliefs welcomes questions and challenges, knowing that challenges strengthen her ideas.
This is the lesson we learn at the Passover Seder: the obligation to ask questions goes hand-in-hand with the privilege of freedom. And the willingness to allow questions is the hallmark of a free person and a free society.