("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.)
Once upon a time there was a man who owned a beautiful but unfinished mansion. His wife urged him to allow her the opportunity to finish the home any way she wanted. Her single request from him was patience in the process. He would occasionally be dispossessed of location but would always be able to find space to live his life normally as the mansion’s home improvement was continuing.
The system was working well. When his study was under construction, his wife set up a temporary study in one of the other rooms. When the master bedroom was being updated, he slept in his own bed that had been moved into one of the guest rooms. Each step was carefully planned by the man’s wife so as to avoid any sort of difficulty or discomfort.
All was working out well, until it came time to redo the dining room.
Due to some construction overruns, the only place to establish temporary eating quarters was in the front hallway. Thus, the man’s wife set their dining room, with all of its furniture and finery right in the front of the home.
Unaware of the new changes, the man had invited some business associates to his home for a private working dinner. As the potential business partners came into the home, they found themselves immediately in the dining room. Attempting to put his potential partners at ease, he smiled and reminded the partners that a man can think himself to be the king of his castle and still find his table in the hallway.
The Chofetz Chaim used to note that many people often ask why the Reshaim (wicked) appear to have it so good in this world. He noted that having it so good in the hallway of life is only a temporary experience. The ultimate goal of life is to have a beautiful permanent Shulchan (table). He added that the only way to merit such a table is to build it and constantly update it.
We often review our priorities in life. Sometimes we set our definitions of success as knowing when we have finally “made it.”
But when is the “finally” applicable? When do we know that we have permanently solidified our goals in life and achieved them in their proper place and manner?
How do we make sure that we are preparing for “the good life” in a permanent way? How do we educate our children in that regard as well?
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.