("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 Refush Sheleima of Shalva Adina Bas Sarah Chana)
Chaim was a major dealer in fabrics and fashion. When he would walk Fashion Ave., the sellers would line up in order to catch a glimpse and hopefully lure him into their stores. It was well known that if Chaim bought from you, that season would be a good one for you.
Berel was a designer in the business. Each season, he would watch as Chaim would come up and down his block and pass right by him and move onto the next store. How he desired to get Chaim to notice him and hopefully buy from him as well.
One day, Berel happened upon a plan. He told Chaim that their fathers had a custom in the old country of meeting together and drinking coffee. He suggested that Chaim join him in his store in order to do what the old timers used to do – and keep the tradition strong. Chaim quickly agreed. Daily, he would walk the block and stop in for a half an hour or so and drink coffee in Berel’s store. Chaim even began looking forward to the experience. But throughout, he still didn’t make the purchases that Berel had wanted.
One day, Berel lost it on Chaim in the midst of the coffee, “Why do you think that I keep inviting you here? Do you think that the coffee alone is what I want to share? I was hoping to build a solid business relationship with you.”
The Dubno Maggid used to explain that Hashem has the same frustration when he invites us into His world and His home for Tefillah, to study his Torah or to perform Mitzvos. The ultimate goal in these activities is the development of the relationship we are asked to prepare with Hashem and the personal growth that is to accompany it. Otherwise, we are merely “drinking Coffee” in these experiences and losing the point.