("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)
Ever come “face to face” with someone or something special?
Take the classic home situation between two loving spouses. The dutiful husband receives a call on his cellphone to please stop in the supermarket on his way home to pick up a few items before Shabbos. Entering the home armed with packages he announces “Hi dear, I’m home and I got the stuff” as he brings things into the kitchen.
His wife, busied with the bustle of Shabbos and the bundle of things still yet to be done, runs around him and offers a hurried “thank you” as she reaches for pots from the cabinet and ingredients from the pantry. Without offering a glance she points to the counter. “Set them there and can you help put them away?” she asks.
The husband quickly complies. As each item comes out of one of the bags, he announces that he got it. “Yeah, I remembered the milk” he says, “and the horseradish” and puts them into the fridge. “I got the baby food,” he mutters to no one it seems as he puts it away.
Then he reaches into the bag. “And this,” he adds and pulls out a beautiful bouquet of flowers “for you.” The wife suddenly stops for a moment and sees the beautiful flowers. For a brief moment in an otherwise bustling, busy rush, the couple shares a second. The wife looks at her husband, face to face, and offers a sincere “thank you – now go put them in a vase please!” There is a certain appreciation in the flowers. It isn’t simply the purchase that makes the difference – it is the awareness that there is something unique and special in the purpose that the two share exclusively.
Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus notes that there is a clear difference between a direct relationship and an awareness that we are “around” something big. When we rise in the morning we thank Hashem (Modeh Ani L’Faneicha – in front of YOU) directly. When we bless Hashem we use the more familiar ATA (you) instead of the less familiar and more formal “HE” because we want to highlight and be aware of our personal relationship with Hashem in our lives. Like the spouses who do “with” each other instead of “for” and “at” each other – our relationship with Hashem can be close when our minds are focused on His presence in our lives directly. That happens best when we realize we are with Hashem constantly --- face to face.
How often do we find Jewish practices to be “far out” and “unrelateable” in today’s times?
Are we also saying that today’s times don’t have room for personal connection with Hashem?
What can we do to recognize His presence in our daily lives and allow it to impact our behaviors, interactions and thinking?
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.