("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.)
If one could eat anything he wanted, what would s/he eat?
I know that if the question were asked of our tireless wives and mothers who have slaved away making Yom Tov meals during the Yamim Noraim season and now are entrenched in the process of preparing for Sukkos and Simchas Torah, they might not respond with the same lavishness that WE might think about. But the truth is, there was a time in Jewish history when the question was a fair one and did not require our women to spend an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen. I refer to the Dor HaMidbar (generation that lived in the desert) who ate the Manna from heaven.
However, one might ask a tougher question – what would one who did not have a particular taste or food in mind when s/he ate?
This issue was once discussed at a different Shabbos table in a far off town called Radin. The Chofetz Chaim posed the question to those who had joined him for Shabbos meals and then proceeded to give his own answer – if one did not intend to have taste, then s/he tasted nothing. He noted that Manna is supposed to be reminiscent of Torah itself. Just as in Torah study, one can find whatever one wants in it, so it was with Manna. Just as one who studies Torah can select and become satisfied and successful with different sections of torah study (from Iyun to Breadth, from Halacha to Aggada, from Midrash to Kabbalah and beyond, there are aspects of every area of interest within the realm of Torah living. And anyone who has tasted the sweet morsels of Torah, knows how truly delicious the words of Torah really are – they are literally life-giving to those who live and learn the Torah.
“However,” said the Chofetz Chaim, “when I see people who could be learning and living with the benefit and pleasure of Torah in their lives who choose to ignore it or refuse to consider it, I wonder how they would allow that to happen? I can only come to one conclusion – if one didn’t think, one clearly could NOT taste! It would be impossible to explain how anyone would stay away from Torah study otherwise.”
In Shiras Haazinu, Moshe likens the words of Torah to a wonderful dew. The experience is refreshing and enjoyable to those who study and experience it.
What areas of Torah do WE like to study? Remember that the study of Torah is our chance to connect with Hashem in understanding the blueprint HE used in designing the world. If we could connect with a greater more powerful source running the world, what would WE want to know from Him? What can we do to find our piece of interest in the Torah?
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.