("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 certain man was once enjoying the serenity and quiet of his backyard. All of a sudden, he began to hear the loud sounds of banging, clanging and other sounds of construction and work. Next door, he found a construction crew hard at work:
“What are you doing?” He asked the foreman.
“We are constructing a train track system. Pretty soon they will be having the trains pass through here and you will be able to hop a train from right here and go wherever you want,” came the quick reply.
A number of months later , the man suddenly heard a new sound – a shrill whistle of some sort. He looked and saw the train in the distance. He had never seen a train before and did not know what its whistle meant. He ran onto the tracks and waved in the general direction of the train thinking that it was trying to send him a message of friendship and he wanted to respond to it in kind. He began to wave and flay his hands openly to signal the oncoming train. The engineer recognized the fact that the man on the tracks did not know what the point of the whistle was. He ran out onto the sideboard runner and waved both hands trying to get the man’s attention to get him out of the way. Unfortunately the man mistook the waving of the hands as a further friendship call. He began to jump up and down in delight.
Until the final moment, the man did not know that he needed to get out of the way…
Rav Yaakov Kamenetzsky noted that the Torah is like a series of train tracks. If we get on the train, we can go wherever we need to go to merit eternal life. However, we need to remember to hear the sounds that remind us that the train is coming and take the steps that come along with them in order to board the train and not – God forbid – to get caught under it.
With the sounds of Elul approaching, what do the sounds of the Shofar mean to YOU?
What areas do YOU want to improve in preparation for the new year?
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.