("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.)
Sometimes we wonder if we need to be a certain age to achieve success. Consider the following stats:
Ted Williams, at age 42, slammed a home run in his last official time at bat.
Mickey Mantle, age 20, hit 23 home runs his first full year in the major leagues.
Golda Meir was 71 when she became Prime Minister of Israel.
William Pitt II was 24 when he became Prime minister of Great Britain.
George Bernard Shaw was 94 when one of his plays was first produced.
Mozart was just seven when his first composition was published.
Benjamin Franklin was a newspaper columnist at 16
and a framer of the United States Constitution when he was 81.
When he came down to Mitzrayim and greeted Pharaoh for the first time, Yaakov was asked his age by the monarch. Yaakov responded that he was 130 but that his years were few and bitter and didn’t measure up to the days and age of his parents. Why would Pharaoh ask him his age? And why would Yaakov answer with such an extended soliloquy which was seemingly irrelevant to the question at hand?
The Shaagas Aryeh answered that Pharaoh saw that upon the arrival of the Tzaddik in Egypt, good things began to happen. On the one hand, Pharaoh welcomed the blessing but at the same time, worried that given the older man’s age, the good would not last too long. Hence, he asked Yaakov his age to know or guessimate how long he could depend on him.
Yaakov sensed the purpose of the investigation and answered in kind. “I’m 130 but don’t worry, the best is yet to come. And if you want me to explain the white hairs? That’s simple – I’ve had a tumultuous life. But I’ve got a lot more to live – and thrive,” he responded.
The truth is that one is never too old to live – or thrive -- nor too young to contribute to society and express your talents for the benefit of the greater good.
Do you believe that you are old enough or young enough to lead the world in a particular way? What way is that?
What might hold you back from succeeding in leading? How might you overcome those obstacles?
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.