("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).
A Friend recently shared the following story. I don’t know if it happened to him or it was straight Reader’s Digest – but the message is worth repeating…
“From the day we entered the ninth-grade biology class, one blackboard on the side of the room was covered with the names and locations of the major bones and muscles of the human body. That diagram stayed on the board throughout the term, but the teacher never referred to it. Each day, we would wait to hear about that diagram and what was unique about it but nothing ever pertained to it.
On the day of the final exam, we came to class to find that board wiped clean. The sole test question was: "Name and locate every major bone and muscle in the human body."
Our class protested in unison: "We never learned that!" "That's no excuse," said the teacher. "The information was there for months." After we struggled with the test for a while, he collected the papers and tore them up.
"Always remember," he told us, "that education is more than just learning what you are told."
Rav Yaakov Weinberg ztl used to note that Kohanim were told “Emor, V’Amarta” with a double emphasis because, as Rashi notes, it is a reminder to teach the older one about the younger ones. This, says Rav Yaakov was not only a message about the need to instruct the young Kohanim verbally about THEIR future roles. Rather it was an additional motivation for the older Kohanim in their own experience. They should be diligent and devoted in their own Judaism because it is giving a full, unspoken education to the next generation of Jews – the children who are watching us.
Sometimes, we think to ourselves that the best motivation is “showing the kids.” Our enthusiasm, excitement and approach to life and the Torah guidance for it, will help shape the way they will approach things in the future. While that is true, our being aware that they are watching us and getting an education even passively, should also shape the way we choose to do things now.
How might knowing that the kids are watching affect YOUR approach to Mitzvos? To Life?
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.