“Let's table the discussion" is an  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).

You know the excitement of watching funny phases get translated by Google translate.

Well, some of the original translation errors made by computers are equally as funny.

In the early 1960s, an apocryphal tale went around about a computer that the CIA had built to translate between English and Russian: to test the machine, the programmers decided to have it translate a phrase into Russian and then translate the result back into English, to see if they'd get the same words they started with. The director of the CIA was invited to do the honors; the programmers all gathered expectantly around the console to watch as the director typed in the test words: "Out of sight, out of mind."

The computer silently ground through its calculations. Hours passed. Then, suddenly, magnetic tapes whirred, lights blinked, and a printer clattered out the result: "Invisible insanity."

In a series of Sichos Mussar that he gave during the 6 day war, Rav Chaim Shmuellevitz ztl. identified the danger of assuming that the war was “out of sight, out of mind.” Citing the horrific challenges that made Yocheved leave her child in the Nile (See Ibn Eza to Shemos 2:3) and Hagar cast her child far away from her as he lay dying, Rav Chaim notes that the distance helps create a false sense of numbness and a false sense of freedom from the pain associated with challenge.

The only thing created when we distance ourselves from the needs of our fellow Jews is a sense of falseness. It is a true example of “invisible insanity”.  For the pains are real and the Tzaaros are real as well. However, by separating oneself from the community, one loses the perspective necessary in order to help the community weather the storm and perhaps  even find a solution to its situation. This was the castigation of Elimelech who took his family with him to avoid the cries and the famine of the people of Eretz Yisrael. The Talmud notes (Taanis 11a) that if one separates oneself from the community in the time of crisis does not merit to be with the community in the time of salvation. That could be our own fate if we fail to appreciate the challenges of our greater Jewish family.

When the children of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, lost their lives, Moshe consoled Aharon by noting that Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael Yivku Es HaSereifa Asher Saraf Hashem – that the entire nation will mourn the tragedy that Hashem took.  Pri Megadim (OC 574) notes that crying WITH the Tzibbur – DAVENING with the Tzibbur – allows and reminds the person that s/he is a part of something bigger and better than even oneself, one’s family or even his or her immediate community. When one subscribes to a philosophy that Israel’s needs are “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” that is true invisible insanity.

As we lovingly recall the holy souls who lost their lives in the Shoah – and those Kedoshim who never forgot them when rebuilding their own…And as we approach the day of Yom Hazikaron when we recall the brave men and women who gave their lives for Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael (whether prepared to do so as soldiers or merely victims of terror) let us fulfill OUR responsibilities to Achdut Yisrael.


What can YOU do to be less “insanely invisible” to our sisters and brothers in Am Yisrael?

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