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Passover book encourages participation Author says questioning is key

The Jewish Standard speaks to Sharon Marson about More Than Four Questions. She talks about her love of questions, and of how the book was shaped by her conversations with her students.

The author said the kind of questions children ask “depends on the type of child. The more concrete thinker will ask questions about ritual or the sequence of what we do and why. The more reflective type of child will ask open-ended questions like ‘What does it mean to be really free?’

“We need both parts,” she said. “Questions are a vehicle of exploration. By asking questions, we deliver the message that asking is valued. We don’t have all the answers, but we can figure things out.”

Marson’s book includes several kinds of questions. On the bottom of each page, beneath the child’s question, is one from Marson herself, challenging the teenagers and adults at the table to think more deeply about each issue. On the other side of the page, below the children’s responses, are relevant quotations and sources. Further reflections on some of the issues are included at the back of the book.

Marson suggests that it would be helpful to review the book before the holiday begins, flagging questions that might be particularly appropriate for each seders’ participants.

“It would be so exciting if people were able to learn something from the book, or be triggered by something from it, that deepens their connection to God or strengthens their [commitment] to strive for a more sensitive way of living,” she said.