#blogExodus – Day 7: Ask

blogexodus5775I’ve been sitting here, racking (not wracking, for the grammarians among us) my brain about how to link “ask” with Exodus. While I saw a lot of “telling,” which I wrote about last night, I didn’t notice much asking. Exodus seems to me a pretty definitive story, with God telling Moses what to do, Moses telling Aaron, and one of them telling Pharaoh and then the Israelites.

Then it hit me –ASK is exactly what we do with the Exodus story! We do it in our Seders. Of course! Duh – can you say “the Four Questions?” More accurately, can you ask them? We ask, so that we can tell. Tell the story of our people’s liberation from slavery, and our struggles with that freedom.

It’s fascinating to me that at the center of our Seder (which, for the uninitiated, means “order” in Hebrew), is the Four Questions. Even more interesting to me is the fact that they must be asked by the youngest person present. It’s a construct, of course. A launching point. A way to get us to “Once upon a time…” Of course the little kid has to ask.

My favorite Seders have always been the ones where people ask a lot of questions, and answers come flying from all directions. More questions, too. It’s delicious – there’s nothing better to me than excited conversation. And there’s no better way to start a conversation than with a question.

My challenge for this Seder is to have the grown-ups (chronologically, not necessarily emotionally!) ask a lot of questions. We don’t ask enough. We think we know the answers. Maybe we do – at least sometimes. But until we ponder enough, ask hard questions, and try to answer them, the story is static. To me, it’s important to bring it back to life – to our present-day world. God knows, there’s enough to tie in from the horrors in today’s world.

If we can do that – if we can show how the Exodus story is still relevant and that things still need to change – maybe we can start a new journey. Maybe one day, our children’s children will be able to tell a richer and deeper story.


I’m participating this year in #blogExodus, a daily series of posts, tweets, and status updates relating to themes of Passover and Exodus, created by ImaBima. The series lasts for 14 days – not nearly as long as the Jews wandered in the desert all those years ago. You can find other posts via the #blogExodus hashtag.

About armsakimbobook

I'm a mother, a lawyer, a feminist, a writer, a potter, and an inveterate and unapologetic New Yorker. My book, Arms Akimbo: A Journey of Healing, tells of my journey of healing over a number of years, learning to live a full life after I was molested by my father at a very young age. I live in Medford, MA, part time with my 11 year-old daughter and full time with our dog, Toast, and our cats, Samson and Hercules.
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