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).
Once upon a time, a king reward one of his followers with a huge sum of money to support his family for a decade. He presented his gift to the follower and told him that he “should do with the gift as he pleased.”
The man returned home happy and after showing the gift to his family, he hid it in a locked drawer.
Each week he would go to the market with enough money to buy that which he needed for that week’s shopping. But before doing so, he would pass by the palace and stand at the palace gates before him and then continue on to the market.
One day, a friend asked him about his strange practice: “Why do you go out of your way to stop at the palace gates? The king does not see you and the trip is out of the way. What’s the point and what are you accomplishing?
The man told his friend that he had it all wrong. “You may be correct in your assumptions about the time and distance I use, but when I take the money that is not mine and use it to feed my family, I feel indebted to the king. In order to remember my sense of gratitude and indebtedness, I stop by the palace. The issue isn’t so much that the king should see me but rather so that I will never forget that I’m eating and living from the king’s table and by his hand.”
The Ben Ish Chai tells us that whenever a person needs anything, he stops at a store (or today, online) picks out that which he seeks and pays for it with his money. But in doing so, he is in danger of forgetting that the money in his account is not his but rather Hashem’s who put it there. Yaakov Aveinu too, wakes up dumbfounded and startled that he "did not know" he would be able to find Hashem atop the mountain he slept upon. It was the awareness that he was in a Beis Elokim (a house of Hashem) that made Yaakov fear an opportunity almost lost. For, by going to the royal gates (the Shul) and paying homage to the one who provides it for him, Man acknowledges that sense of gratitude that he owes Hashem for providing for us with his unique generosity.
We are often so busy and so tired that we find it difficult to make it “out” to davening. Sometimes we prefer to “bring it to us” or even to offer Tefillah privately. In doing so, do we risk losing the chance to recognize the relationship that provides it all for us?
In what way can you enhance your Tefillah experience to reflect a genuine thanksgiving?
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.