("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.)
Two children were playing in the sand on a beach. One of the children built a beautiful castle, complete with a moat and a working drawbridge. It was quite the structure and took a lot of effort. As children are wont to do, the other was fooling around and knocked it down.
The constructor was crestfallen. The other child was indifferent though expressed some verbal remorse.
Years later, the constructor was appointed king. The other child was now an adult, and one of the loyal subjects. When he saw his old childhood friend appointed king, he panicked. “What happens if he finally decides to exact revenge from me for the castle thing,” he mused. He rushed to the castle, threw himself at the mercy of the king and begged his forgiveness and for his life.
“Fool,” declared the king. “Do you think I care that much about some granules of sand? I’m a king over many large cities and provinces! What time do I have for some old sand particles!”
Count Potocki, the famous Ger Tzedek of Vilna is reported to have offered this same Mashal in response to the tailor who had revealed his true identity to the authorities which ultimately cost him his life, when the tailor came to beg for his mercy not to cost him his share in the world to come.
The Ger Tzedek explained, “I’m going to a place where I will be ruling over 310 worlds. Do you REALLY think I want to take revenge over a sandcastle (the body which is Afar from the ground)?”
In life too, we often are beset with questions where we need to decide “is it worth it?”. After all, when we are passed over for promotion or supposedly slighted by a missing invitation or a wronged step from a loved one, we need to decide for ourselves “is it worth it” to stand our ground stalling these relationships? Aren’t we merely holding up our OWN progress?
What about our children who come home with hurt feelings, perhaps over a game that was lost or a score that was not achieved in school, only to declare that they will “NEVER play or study that subject EVER AGAIN!”? Is that going to bring about mastery of the subject or expertise in the sport? Is the child (and sometimes the adult) merely just preserving a broken castle instead of erecting a better, stronger, more sturdy permanent one?
How can we learn to ask ourselves “is it ultimately worth it”? And how can we logically “move forward and upward” while managing hurt feelings in a healthy way?
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.