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).
A young mother was looking forward to a few minutes of relaxation after a long and demanding day. However, her young daughter had other plans for her mother's time.
"Can you read me a story, Mommy," the little girl begged. "Give Mommy a few minutes to relax. Then I'll be happy to read you a story," replied the mother.
The little girl kept insisting that her mother read to her right away. With a flash of brilliance, the mother tore off the back page of the magazine she was reading. It had a full-page picture of the world. As she tore it into several pieces, the mother told her daughter to put the picture together and then she would read her a story. She figured that this would buy her considerable relaxing moments.
A few short minutes later, the little girl announced that she was done. To her mother’s astonishment, she found the world picture completely assembled. When she asked her daughter how she managed to do it so quickly, the little girl explained that on the reverse side of the page was the picture of a little girl. "You see, Mommy, when I got the little girl together, the whole world came together."
The Shach explains that a similar idea happens to a person who approaches Mitzvos as well. With the enormity of the numbers of Mitzvos, a Jew can quickly become overwhelmed and think that s/he will never live up to the Torah’s expectations of Mitzva observance. Such thought can quickly lead to depression and giving up. Therefore, the Torah reminds us to focus on the single Mitzva in front of each one of us and not worry about the others in order to be successful in bringing the rest of the Mitzvos into line.
Similarly, when we perform a Mitzva we note that we were sanctified with the Mitzvos (plural) and commanded on the particular Mitzva at hand. The Torah wants us to focus on the Mitzva at hand and use it as the sole focus to bringing the rest of our world of Mitzvos together – one step at a time.
Sometimes we can get overwhelmed with all of the things we need/want to do in our personal lives, families and communities and our personal and communal spiritual growth. When that happens, it can seem depressing and crushing. The antidote is to focus on one person, one Mitzva, at one step, and one time.
What do YOU want to focus upon in order to grow spiritually?
How might YOU set YOUR spiritual growth schedule to achieve those goals?
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.