Friday, May 06, 2005

Nudnik Questions

I learn best in a one-on-one setting. Large shiurim are extremely distracting for me since they usually cater to the lowest common denominator and will commonly end up getting side-tracked by a person who finds something trivial to be problematic. The entire shiur becomes devoted to helping that one person work through his problem - a "problem" that could be easily resolved if he initially tried to look up the answer himself. (A Christian co-worker told me that this phenomenon often occurs in Bible study groups as well.)

Opening up Sichos HaRan on Thursday morning I found a thought in #32 that shed some light on the phenomenon of "nudnik" questions during a shiur:

"...the average person's questions are mere foolishness. Upon close examination, their questions turn out not to be questions at all. Many people are disturbed by questions for years, not realizing that their questions are actually answers. It is only their lack of intelligence that makes them seem like questions in the first place."

I couldn't say it any better.


At May 6, 2005 at 7:48:00 AM EDT, Blogger Mirty said...

Sigh. I am working on this with my step-daughter. She badgers me with questions that she could easily figure out with just two seconds of focused thought. She's very smart but she's a nudnik! Instead of answering her, I say, "Think! You already know the answer." or "Look it up!" (I know that sounds mean.)

At May 6, 2005 at 12:14:00 PM EDT, Blogger Pilot Mom said...

I don't think that sounds mean at all, Mirty! Children need to be taught how to think, logically and analytically. For some it comes easier than for some others but we need to help them pursue that line.

At May 7, 2005 at 1:59:00 AM EDT, Blogger Tamara said...

Oy do I know this one all too well. I teach English in a public high school. If I had a dollar for every unnecessary question my students ask....well, you get the idea. Oftentimes even the ones who have learned to think and analyze for themselves ask, what appear to be stupid questions, simply because they are starved for attention in some area of their life. This is such an important thing to be aware of.

I think I am going to demand a "no nudnik questions day" in my class :) HAHAH Oh to dream.

At May 8, 2005 at 2:59:00 AM EDT, Blogger Josh said...

Honestly I don't know if there is such a thing...A question that's off topic is not a good question...But in it seems in Judaism, questions are always encouraged, no matter what.

At May 8, 2005 at 5:25:00 PM EDT, Blogger Jen said...

What a revelation!

At May 9, 2005 at 1:55:00 AM EDT, Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...

It's one of the reasons I much prefer learning bechavrutah to a shiur.



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