("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.)
Open travel expense accounts can be quite dangerous to the companies that provide them for their employees. They say that big cities can mean big expenses to traveling executives who do not know what they should be spending money on, and are in a place where tourism calls for spending lots of it.
A certain individual was once traveling on such a business trip, with a party at his side constantly. They entered a particular bar and began to order heavily. At the end of each round, the executive would praise himself and kiss his company card while ordering another round. The members of his entourage would shout out cheers of agreement as they raised glasses for another refill.
As the night progressed, the bottles flew off the shelves and the card was worn out. Eventually, the executive hit his card’s maximum and he was soon escorted out of the bar -- at this point, penniless and not surprisingly,- alone. Somewhat inebriated, he stumbled to the street. “I am the best executive this company ever had,” he mumbled as he continued to stumble outside, “The best, you hear?”
To himself, he was indeed the greatest executive of the company, but in the minds of the onlookers, he was another drunken vagabond, screaming and laying in the street.
The Chofetz Chaim used to note that in many ways we are like the traveling executive. In our teens and twenties, we think we are the greatest. As we enter the corporate world we think nothing can stop us. As we get older, into the thirties and forties, we continue to climb the ladder of life, as our roles in life bring on promotions and our roles as spouses and families increase. As we grow into our fifties and sixties and beyond and our families begin to expand on their own, and we begin to slow down, we can start to wake up and reassess the appropriateness of our goals in life.
Hopefully, we won’t be too late.
You see, expense accounts, like our lives, are not endless and do not come without a requirement for accounting. Hashem gives us the moments of our lives and the tools in those moments, to create a Kiddush Hashem right where we are. How we choose to use that time and those tools will determine our success at our job.
What can WE do to improve the use of our time on this world? How can we impact our planning for life’s goals and how often should we be reviewing them?
What could/will WE be doing differently at this point, as the world around us reminds us to reconsider what is truly important in life?
What about our kids? How can we get THEM to recognize the great gift that is life and how good presents like it are able to keep on giving if preserved properly?
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.