"Let's table the discussion" is a new Adath Israel Shul initiative where a story or thought is presented in order to stimulate exciting and constructive discussion around our Shabbos table or among friends and children. (Dedicated to the Refuah Sheleima of Shalva Adina Bas Sarah Chana).
You know the story, we ALL know it. – As the weather starts to improve, “summer-itis” starts to set in at many Yeshivos. The boys (or the girls in the seminary), might miss a Seder every now and then in order to “pack in” the experience of the beautiful day.
In one particular yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael, Shlomo was “taking it easy” and left to the store before the shiur. Unbeknownst to him, his father came for a surprise visit. "Have you seen my Shloimele?" he asks one of the students.
"He is probably at the pizza shop," came the quick reply.
"Pizza shop? What could he be doing at the pizza shop at 11:00 in the morning?" the father asks, somewhat
"He was probably hungry," answered the student. "What is the difference? There are still another one hundred bachurim, students, studying in the bais hamedrash."
The census taken of Bnei Yisrael at the beginning of the book of Bamidbar was not merely to get a total number. “Count the heads” says the Torah. Rav Shoulsinger Shlita (Otzar HaTorah) adds that the word for count – Siu has a double meaning. On the one hand, it implies a raising of the head. At the same time the word Siu also carries a connation of removal. The truth is, when we are being counted, Hashem wants us to be raised by the experience. He wants us to assume our proper places within the Jewish familial, cultural and national stage that is Am Yisrael. If we rise to the occasion, then our individual existence is not merely a contribution to the sum total of a nation but rather the impact of the individual on so many different vital components of what makes us a strong nation. If not, we can lose our heads in our efforts to shine at the expense of national goals or lose ourselves within the greater Jewish fabric.
The beauty of Am Yisrael has always been in appreciating the tension between the individual and nationalism and the awareness that for each of us there is no contradiction in the mission.
Like the father in our story, Hashem seeks out EACH of us within Am Yisrael. Mere numbers alone do not replace those who do not arrive.
What are YOUR individual goals in life?
Where do they fit in to the general mission of Jewish nationalism?
Let’s “table” the discussion – by discussing it with our children, spouses, families and guests and open an exciting discussion into our homes and community.