("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.)
Given the financial crisis of the last number of years, many opportunities to examine the default process have existed within society.
Take Joe for instance, who hasn’t paid his credit card bills for the last four years. The credit card company is most happy to work with Joe, asking him to pay off small amounts in small increments in order to help Joe avoid defaulting entirely and declaring bankruptcy. In Joe’s case the company realizes that small amounts over time is better than a large amount --that never gets paid back-- in the short term.
On the other hand, there are other loans that call for a guarantor will guarantee the loan under discussion. Should it happen that the borrower defaults, the bank has no problem going to the guarantor to exact full payment at the present time. From the bank’s perspective, they want to collect their amount in total, and leave the incremental is between friends.
Rav Meir Shapiro, famed Lubliner Rav and founder of the Daf Yomi movement, notes that the same is true in regard to our relationships with our fellow Jews. When one of us lacks awareness of Jewish principles and law, s/he is like the borrower who lacks the financial resources to pay. It becomes incumbent upon us, those with more awareness, to reach out and guarantee our brother’s good name to Hashem – making good on the loans that He provided the person. We can start by providing the spiritual financial education – incremental payment, even the smallest amounts, builds a positive relationship with the great big bank in the sky.
At the same time, Rav Meir cautioned his students not to be too tough with those who knew less. He noted that if you overload too much, the person will declare spiritual bankruptcy - and never improve the relationship with Hashem.
My Rebbe Rav Schachter Shlita always told us that when we were engaging in Kiruv, we shouldn’t go after the toughest goals first – for that would dissuade people from becoming close to Hashem.
In today’s society our challenges of outreach have crept inward. More often than not, those purporting to be orthodox are facing challenges among family members who for whatever reason, are casting aside religious principles and guidelines with which they grew up and have lived. How can parents and family members relate to those in need of inreach? What perspectives can they keep in mind as they encourage friends and family members –while trying not to lose their minds?
How do WE define, demonstrate – and feel – Areivim Zeh Ba Zeh?
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.