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 & Eliyahu Aharon Ben Yocheved Yetta Ettel).
Tommy was raised in the suburban lifestyle. He grew up in a home and was taken to school either by car or, on the rare occasion he would take a bus. Tommy had vacationed by hopping a plane but he had never seen a train.
One day, while on a trip in the country, his cousin pulled their truck to the side of the road to watch an industrial train pass. The huge locomotive led a team of 30 cars filled with building materials, storage containers and other heavy equipment. Tommy wondered how the different train cars were able to move with the same efficiency at the same pace.
“It’s pretty simple,” his cousin explained. “The first car is called a locomotive. It pulls the train. Sometimes there is a second locomotive at the end to provide some extra energy too. But the cars in the middle are merely being pulled along which is why they move at the same pace.”
Tommy challenged the notion presented by his cousin. After all, how could a single train car pull 29 other cars with weights that appeared far superior to its own weight. He was amazed to see that it was so.
Tommy and his cousin followed the train to the local train yard. He was curious to see just which train was the locomotive. “Simple,” his cousin told him. “The locomotive will be the one that after it is separated from the other trains will continue to move on its own at its will. The other cars will need to wait for another locomotive.”
The Alter of Novorhodok used to explain that the Tzaddik is special because no matter where he is, he remains dedicated to his mission and does not allow outside influence to steer him away from his intended goal in life. In that regard, he likened his students – many of whom he sent all over Eastern Europe to establish Yeshivos – to ovens. Some are gas based while others are wood based. While the gas-based ovens are strong and burn well, the wooden ovens work no matter where they are because they do not receive their heat from an external source they must remain connected to. They are consistent on their own.
Rav Pinchas Teitz ztl. would often note that the Beracha of Baruch Ata BaIr Baruch Ata BaSadeh is a blessing not only for the Jew where he is. It is also a charge to the Tzaddik to be a Beracha wherever he goes.
How do we resist the challenges of our environment to remain true to ourselves and our Torah values?
How can we be a source of blessing in whatever we do?
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.