"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).
Every young student knows of Isaac Newton's famed encounter with a falling apple. Newton discovered and introduced the laws of gravity in the 1600s, which revolutionized astronomical studies (Whether the apple hit him in the head is a conversation for a different discussion).
But how many of us know that if it were not for Edmund Halley, the world might never have learned from Newton? Halley challenged Newton to think through his original notions. Halley corrected Newton's mathematical errors and prepared geometrical figures to support his discoveries. Halley coaxed the hesitant Newton to write his great work, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Halley edited and supervised the publication, and actually financed its printing even though Newton was wealthier and easily could have afforded the printing costs.
Historians call it one of the most selfless examples in the annals of science. Newton began almost immediately to reap the rewards of prominence; Halley received little credit. He did use the principles to predict the orbit and return of the comet that would later bear his name, but only AFTER his death did he receive any acclaim. And because the comet only returns every seventy-six years, the notice is rather infrequent. Halley remained a devoted scientist who didn't care who received the credit as long as the cause was being advanced.
The Ksav Sofer quotes Rashi who notes that it was Nesanel Ben Tzuar who came up with the plan to have the Nesiim offer Korbanos each day of the Chanukas Hamishkan. He adds that for this reason, Nesanel had a portion in each and every Korban that was offered by the Nesiim as if he himself had brought it. (Thus, the only day that had one Nasi who brought his korban was the second day – when Nesanel brought his own Korban. Hence on that day we say Hikriv Es Korbano – he brought his own Korban).
The Chovos HaLevavos (Shaar Ahavas Hashem 6) notes that when one encourages others to Mitzva observance, then his reward is exponentially multiplied. For within each Mitzva that the others perform, there is a piece that rightfully belongs to him.
Opportunities for us abound to impact the world around us and encourage people to engage in the world with an ethical Torah-based model. The wise one doubles down on his/her efforts by affecting the masses.
What can YOU do to inspire others to “do the right thing”?
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.