("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.)
It seems like everybody in this world will do whatever he or she can to earn an additional dollar.
They tell a story of a certain individual who boarded a cruise ship and wanted his luggage brought to his room immediately. So, naturally, he told the porter who checked him in, that if the man would get his luggage to his room within the next half hour, he would be duly rewarded.
The porter smiled and winked a sign of recognition and acceptance. The men boarded the ship and went about his way to find his room. Not too long after he entered the room, there was a knock at the door. Through the peephole, the man saw the porter struggling to maintain his heavy load.
“I can’t give you anything yet,” said the man. “You still haven’t brought me my luggage.”
“But how could you possibly know that?” came the reply. “You didn’t even open the door to check.”
The man told him, “when I opened the peephole and saw you struggling and sweating to carry that piece of luggage, I knew it couldn’t be mine. You see, my luggage is quite light and you shouldn’t have any struggle to maintain it.”
The famed Rav Yaakov Krantz, Maggid of Dubno used to use this story to help explain why people seem to have such difficulty keeping the Mitzvos and studying Torah. According to the Dubno Maggid (and this point and its accompanying narrative was referred to as Ruach HaKodesh by the famed Kotzker Rebbe), Torah is supposed to be sweet and Mitzva observance is supposed to infuse our lives with meaning and direction. In such instances, the Mitzva observance and Torah study can never be “too hard” or “unmanageable.”
However, when we lose focus about what we do and why we do it, then we begin to compare Torah study to other study and mitzvah activities to other activities and then the packaging of “a Torah lifestyle” starts to feel “burdensome.” But that is not the real package that is the Torah life.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Rav Moshe Feinstein decried the phrase “Es Iz SheverTzu Zein a Yid – that it is difficult to be a Jew.” To Rav Moshe, a Jew is not something that is difficult – it is the best way to live – with purpose and meaning and a clear cut path that leads life in a morally sound and fulfilling direction.
Do you ever feel the “burden” of being Jewish?
What steps can you take to mitigate the burden and learn to experience the sweetness of Torah?
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.