"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).
Radio personality Paul Harvey tells the story of how an Eskimo kills a wolf. The account is grisly, yet it makes a crucial point.
"First the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood."
"Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly new, harder and harder the wolf licks the blade in the Arctic night. So great becomes his craving for blood that the wolf does not notice the razor sharp sting of the naked blade on his tongue nor does he recognize the instant at which his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his own warm blood. His carnivorous appetite just craves more - until the dawn finds him dead in the snow!"
Sometimes our self-indulgence can literally destroy us. Therefore, we are often reminded of our need to be happy with what we have. We are warned not to covet and not to seek indulgence. Indeed when the Asasuf experienced unbridled desire, it destroyed them.
At the same time, Judaism is not an ascetic religion. Our holidays are filled with responsibilities to rejoice and be merry – each member of Am Yisrael in his or her favorite way. How do we make sense of the apparent contradiction?
Ksav Sofer explains that the difference is in the purpose behind the indulgence. Are we indulging in ourselves or are we using material means to express the will of Hashem. If we are engaging in the former, then we run the risk of losing our ultimate desire – to do the will of Hashem – to the immediate moment. However, if we keep our focus on our ultimate goals and purpose, the use of desire can be most beneficial to our existence and achieving that mission.
What is it that YOU desire?
How does that fit within Hashem’s masterplan?
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.