("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.)
Once upon a time, a king sent his son to a faraway country to study in the university there. After a number of years of planning, hard work and ingenuity, the young prince returned home having earned many advanced degrees.
One day, the king instructed his son to move a huge and heavy large boulder onto the roof of the palace. The son was bewildered: “Why would my father want me to do THAT? After all, he sent me to university to become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer and a mathematician. Why would he ask me to do the impossible?” he wondered.
The king sensed his son’s hesitation and surmised as to why. He explained to his son; “Did you really think that I wanted you to bring that which cannot be brought up, up to the roof all at once? I was hoping you’d use your university degree to realize that there are other ways to lift a heavy boulder – like cutting it into smaller manageable pieces and carrying and moving those!”
Rav Nachman of Breslov explains that Hashem wants us to raise our hearts up to Him and dedicate ourselves to him wholly. However, as we note in the Parsha, our hearts can be heavy and at times, misguided in following and even knowing what it wants.
So how can one grow spiritually without being able to dedicate one’s whole heart to Hashem? By breaking that job down into smaller, manageable parts – by breaking down the heart into measurable means, like dedication to specific Torah and Mitzva opportunities with Hashem.
The students of HaRav Shach ztl. used to note that one year his Yamim Noraim resolution was to bentch from a bentcher. He told his students that if he took on smaller attempts to improve and would remain steadfast to them, they would have more positive impact on his life than a haphazard adherence to a largely unattainable resolution.
What areas of YOUR relationship with Hashem do YOU wish to improve?
How might you break down that goal of improvement into measurable steps that you can manage and stick with?
Let’s “table” the discussion – by discussing it with our children, spouses, families and guests and open an exciting discussion into our homes and communities.