("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, a man appeared in the poor Polish city of Hordok in order to make a number of donations.
It seems that the fellow was born in the city in disadvantaged conditions, and was raised as an orphan, by the generosity of the community. The young man later left the city and struck it rich in the United States. He returned to Hordok in order to repay the poor city for the kindness it had shown him and the trust and belief its citizenry had placed in him in order to give him the background and confidence to grow into the success he became.
Legendary Yankee owner George Steinbrenner is similarly remembered for his toughness in business but almost equally for his huge philanthropic contributions to the community of Tampa where he spearheaded contributions to finance the boys & Girls clubs, numerous high schools, high school trips and athletic programs, a children’s emergency room and the Gold Shield foundation to finance children whose law enforcement parents were injured or killed in the line of duty. When asked about his philanthropy and its seeming contradiction to his tough business exterior he noted “I believe the good you do for others comes back to you."
The Chofetz Chaim once noted that the same ideal of having the good come back around is not only a good model in business and society, it highlights our relationship with Hashem. If a young man or woman remembers the good done to him, certainly Hashem will remember the good things we have done throughout our lives and he will repay the kindness in kind.
In what ways do WE pay back key people in our lives who have played a role in our becoming who we are? Are we capable of recognizing the good and “playing it forward while recognizing it in the past?”
Why might recognizing and stating the plan be a good one not only for the recognition it provides but for us as well?
What about the “Small stuff””? Can we recognize the overall positives of our past interactions and experiences even when there are gaps in the gratitude and positive? What about our ability to see the small positives even in the face of negative experience? Why might it be important to be able to do this? Why might we avoid it in our lives?
In general, how can we be able to benefit from “the good we do for others” so that it “comes back to you” in the short and long term?
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.