("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.

Once upon a time an old man came to a particular town and desired to use the town’s Mikvah. After paying the necessary fees, he went into a private changing room and prepared to use the Mikvah.  As he descended the steps into the water, he received quite a shock when he discovered that the waters were freezing cold.


The old man quickly dressed and then turned to the attendant in charge. “Why is the Mikvah so cold today?” he asked. “Is there something wrong with the heating mechanism?”


The attendant was in disbelief. “That’s impossible,” he declared. “I filled the water from the hot water tank myself” he said. “If anything, the Mikvah should be too HOT!”


The old man and the attendant went together to check the hot water tank.  It was there that they made the discovery that explained why the mikvah was so cold.  The water in the tank itself was lukewarm at best.  Pouring it into a pool of cold water was not going to warm anything.  The old man told the attendant “in order to heat cold mikvah water, you need to make sure that the water coming in is extremely hot and excited to begin with.  If the water entering is tepid, it too, will go cold.”


The Chofetz Chaim told this story to a group of Jews who had gathered to hear him in the Polish town of Lida. European Jews were suffering at the time, not from physical and financial struggles as much as from the defection of hundreds of  young men and women from the traditions of Torah and Mitzva observance.  Many different views were being debated as to how to save these souls.

However, the Chofetz Chaim wanted one clear message to reign supreme: If you want others to be warmed by the uniqueness and positive messages of authentic Torah Judaism, YOU need to be impassioned by it. For in the same way that tepid water cannot heat up cold water, the tepid relationship with one’s religion cannot inspire others to keep it as well.


We are often beset with an awareness of the “obligations” and “responsibilities” of being a good Jew.  But how do we learn and teach ourselves and our children to be INSPIRED by Yiddishkeit?


What can we do to “in-reach” ourselves to a more inspired and powerful Judaism?



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.