“Let's table the discussion" is an  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).

Earnest Haycox was a famous contributor to the Saturday Evening Post in the 1930s. His short essays were sought after for their provocative wisdom and quick wit.

In one essay, he tells the story of a certain business client who walked into his attorney’s office with a request:

“I am going into a business deal with a man I do not trust. I want you to frame an airtight contract which he cannot break and which will protect me from any sort of mischief which he may have in mind.”

“Listen my friend,” said the attorney, “There is no group of words in the English language which will take the place of plain honesty between men, or which will fully protect either of you if you plan to deceive one another.”

The Chazon Ish began his study of Meseches Nedarim with a young nephew by telling the younger man that in truth the rules of Neder – namely the responsibility for one to keep his word (K’Chol HaYotzai MeePiv Yaaseh) fully --  should apply to any word that a person utters. It is only the great Chessed of Hashem that he created a more committed language called the language of Nedarim and Shavuos. However, that is no leniency for an individual not to treat his own words with serious and work to make sure that he fulfills his uttered obligations.

Well known business management guru Michael Hyatt identifies the chain of why it is especially important for those involved in business to be careful to keep their words fully. Hyatt notes that keeping one’s word helps demonstrate his integrity. Integrity leads to building one’s trust. Trust helps build a person’s or business’ influence and the stronger one’s influence, the better his or her impact. In short then, keeping one’s word, leads to the biggest impact.

Society often tries to signal the message “go big or go home.” In that message, there is also an opportunity for belief that there is excuse for hyperbole. The Torah wants us to understand that this is not so.

Why do YOU think it is important to keep your word?

Do you think it's ever legitimate for a person to change his mind and not do something after he's already committed to do so?

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.