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).


A doctor I once visited, described the critical, first dressing-down he received on his first real quiz of internship.

About 2 months into internship, he found himself standing in front of the Chief of Medicine, the senior doctors and all of the nursing and allied staff of the ER the new group of interns were assigned to as the Chief of the Emergency Medicine department was “rounding” with them. The Chief seemed to be enjoying firing questions about patients, diagnostics and treatment considerations to his fresh-faced group of “Newbies” during the rounds.  The questions were intense and, at the same time wide ranging. My doctor noted that he and the other interns were doing a pretty good job of responding.  

Right before they ended the session, the doctor stopped and looked him in the eye. “Dr. Gold,” he said, “what is the first name of the guy who mops the ER hallway in the morning?"  Stunned by the question, my doctor shrugged his shoulders. He did not know. The Chief of the ER berated him for his “ignorance” and his “shoddy work.” He then tested each intern and the entire group failed. Each doctor received his own tongue-lashing from the Chief.

After rounds ended, my doctor asked the chief why he was so angry at the interns for not knowing the name of the custodian. The Chief’s answers still ring with him 25 years later.  "In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant and part of the team, whether they wash the floor or perform life-saving surgery. . They deserve your attention and care.  Even if all you do is smile and say 'Hello'."

Ibn Ezra seizes on the difference between the concept of Ger and Ezrach as identified by Hashem to Avraham in the context of Bris Bein HaBesarim. Ibn Ezra explains that the concept of the Ezrach is like a tree which because it is deeply rooted, has branches that can spread out. An Ezrach too, because he knows that he is rooted, allows himself to spread out and grow a fine family.

The concept of a stranger – of a Ger also finds its root in the world of horticulture. This time it is as a seed (Gargir). The seed, tiny and wrinkled, is flung far from its source, and finds itself alone. The seed therefore seeks refuge under the ground until it too, can find its roots and spread itself into a powerful force in its new location as part of the team.

We all feel more comfortable and able to spread ourselves more fully when we feel rooted in a family, community, school or job. The first step in being able to facilitate that feeling in another, is to try to make him or her “feel at home.” When we feel that we are “home” and “part of the team”, each of us can soar making sure our collective efforts of living up to our potentials is achieved and supported by those around us.


Who is a part of YOUR world that you didn’t notice?

What can YOU do to make that person feel like s/he is “part of the team”?


 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.