("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.)
A tall, menacing, drunken fellow walked into a bank branch seeking to make change out of $100 bill. “Please,” he said to the startled teller, “can I get 10 ten dollar bills?”
The teller looked at the money and then at the man. “I’m sorry,” she began, “this bill is fake.” “OK,” he said, “so how about five twenties?”
“I’m sorry, mister, perhaps you didn’t hear me, your bill is fake,” countered that the teller. “OK! I’ll take two fifties if I have to,” said the man.
“But Mr.” began the teller. “Mister Shmister,” interrupted the man. “I don’t need pleasantries – I just want the change, and I WANT IT NOW!”
The teller began to get nervous, and so she pressed the emergency button. Quickly, two security men came to her aid. Without a word, they picked up the man by his elbows and threw him out of the bank.
A crowd of onlookers observed the incident. They asked the man: “How come you argued with the teller but quickly followed the security guard’s orders without a struggle?”
He responded quickly: “Don’t you all understand? With the teller, it was all about words. She spoke, so I responded. However, the security guards didn’t say a word. They just acted.
Very often in life, we debate the questions about proper conduct. We lecture our children and talk among ourselves about how one should or ought to behave in a particular situation. We lecture our kids about how to conduct themselves ethically, socially, and religiously. We demand that they know their place and teach or instruct (verbally) them in that regard.
However, they say that words are cheap. They tell us that actions speak louder than words. How can we best teach our children how to lead proper Torah-based and Torah-guided lives by example rather than merely by word alone? What can we do differently so that our children (and our neighbors and peers) learn the real lessons we hope to impart --- namely the lessons of what we stand for and serve as an example of?
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.