In the famous passage about the Four Children (in some translations - the "Four Sons") we have 4 different types of children (the Wise Child, the Rebellious Child, the Simple Child, and the Child Who Does Not Know How to Ask) asking about the Passover rituals, and each one is given a different response tailored to their personality. For the fourth child, the Haggadah says:
As for the child who does not know how to ask, you should prompt the child. As the Torah says: "You shall tell your child on that day - it is because of this that God did for me when I went free from Egypt."
In the Haggadah of Mishael Zion and Noam Zion I found a fascinating juxtaposition of the opinions of two modern Zionist leaders.
Ze'ev Jabotinsky, founder of the right wing Revisionist Movement which later became Likud, wrote:
No! I don't agree with the advice of the Haggadah here. The Haggadah says open the child up to critical thinking. In my judgment the parent should be silent. Just kiss this child on the forehead for faithfully maintaining loyalty to those sanctified traditions. The love of knowledge, the philosophical quest is important, but the supreme wisdom is to accept the treasures of the past without second guessing, without evaluating their historical origins and their pragamatic utility. It is essential to cherish and preserve that kind of respectful wisdom and not to tarnish it with unnecessary talk.
Yariv Ben Aharon, however, adamantly disagrees. Born in 1934, Ben Aharon is a prominent author and educator in the kibbutz movement, and has led the renaissance in Jewish and Talmudic studies among Israeli secular Jews. He embraces the Haggadah's approach and explains the importance of teaching critical thinking:
Open up the children who have not learned to ask. Lead them on the path to becoming a questioning personality, one who inquires about the way of the world. Open them up so they can formulate their own questions. For without questions, your ready-made answers remain inert and there is no common ground between you. The silence of the child can be thunderous. The silence of the one who does not know how to ask may be the result of not having found an appropriate address to express queries . . . Model for the child; show them adults who know how to ask of themselves questions. As the Rabbis said: "If the child and the spouse are unable to ask, let the parents ask themselves" (Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 115a). Then there is a good chance that the child will learn to ask as well.
I agree with Ben Aharon. Who do you agree with?