("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.)
To a tourist visiting the Tristate area, the sheer size of Manhattan can be breathtaking and that the same time overwhelming. How a tourist finds his way to all of the sites in the city, is an oft talked about subject on the Internet and in travel guides. After all, New Yorkers are notoriously busy people and do not always stop to offer direction.
On a recent trip into Manhattan, I bumped into a tourist visiting from the holy city of Yirushalayim. He asked me how to get to a particular place. I began to provide him with directions. Shaking his head, he looked up and pointed to the Empire State Building. “Use that as a guide,” he asked. “Give me an understanding of where I’m going based upon that building. No matter where I travel in this city, I can look up to that building for guidance.”
(As I thought about it, I realized that I do the same thing when I’m traveling in Yirushalayim. Traffic patterns may change, new construction may result, but I remember where I want to go by looking up towards the Old City and finding my direction accordingly).
Rav Yaakov Yosef of Polynoye once noted that this style of seeking direction is not only helpful when figuring out directions but also useful in navigating life’s dilemmas. Are we supposed to remain steadfast in the current path we are on in life? Are we supposed to veer here or perhaps take a detour? Maybe we need to approach life from a different location altogether? But how are we to tell?
The possuk reminds us that “Shivisi Hashem L’Negdee Tamid” – I have placed Hashem in front of me constantly. When the towering presence of Hashem is before us, and directs us when we make our decisions, that focus will help us get the proper destination safely and soundly. Our primary goal, is to keep looking up.
What kind of dilemmas do YOU face?
How might remembering Hashem and his goals for us impact your direction and choices?
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.