Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Someone once approached his town’s rabbi just before Pesach and asked if he could fulfill the obligation of drinking four cups of wine at the Seder by drinking cups of milk instead. The rabbi said “No” and gave the person who asked a nice donation. The rabbi’s wife then asked: “Why did you give him so much money? Four cups of wine don’t cost that much.” And he answered: “I gave him enough for all the expenses of a proper Seder because from his question I understood that he had none of the Seder necessities. How is it possible to drink milk at a festival meal that includes meat?”
The message here is clear. Sometimes a person may turn to us with a seemingly simple question that is easy to answer or a request with which we can easily comply. Yet when we hear a question, it is not enough to answer like a robot. A question could indicate distress on the part of the questioner that could be resolved with our help. On this holiday of Pesach that celebrates asking questions, we want to make sure that we really understand the questions that are asked in order to answer them in the most complete and meaningful way.