“Let's table the discussion" is an 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).
(Thanks to Rabbi Naftali Lavenda for reminding me of this great story)
Steve was looking out of his office window when he noticed something very strange: there were two people from the Parks Department, one was digging holes and the other one was filling up those very holes. Steve tried to get back to his project, but it was really bothering him why these people would be digging and filling holes that he could not concentrate. He decided to go down and ask them what they are doing.
He approached one of the them and asked what’s going on. The response was the following: “There are usually three of us and we work as a team: I dig the hole, Johnny plants the tree and Paul fills up the hole. Today, Johnny called in sick so we’re just doing our job.”
Often, in the contemplative weeks prior to Rosh Hashana we wind up asking ourselves if the entire process is even worth it. After all, another year has gone by and we seem to be gearing up to recite the same Selichos for the same sins we committed last year. Why should we assume that this year will be different. It is as if, we too, dig ourselves into a hole and then try to merely fill it in during this season. what is the point?
Rav Elazar M. Teitz Shlita has noted on numerous occasions (a similar idea is expressed int he Sefer Tal Chaim) that the years are never exactly the same. He explained that Teshuva and the Teshuva process is one where we sometimes merely "move the chains" but that the general movement is forward and that we get closer with each step. Rav Soloveitchik ztl. would often add that the Teshuva process is not merely a fill in process of making up the shortfall on the year's debts but rather a general move closer to Hashem. If we recall that, then there is never a useless Teshuva!
What are YOUR Teshuva thoughts this year?
How might YOU move closer to Hashem?
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.