("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.)
Joe was a good hearted individual. You could ask him for anything and Joe would respond positively. Therefore it was no surprise that Yaakov came to his door one day requesting to borrow something.
“Can you lend me a hammer?” he asked Joe.
“Sure” and immediately Joe returned with the hammer.
He next day Yaakov returned the hammer – although this time it came back as a pair. “what are you doing?” Joe asked. “Oh, your hammer gave birth last night and here is the original and the offspring.”
Bewildered, Joe accepted the hammers. “Oh by the way, “ asked Yaakov, “might I borrow a wine goblet?”
“Sure,” came Joe’s immediate response, and he quickly gave Yaakov the goblet. Sure enough two were returned to him, with the ongoing explanation that the goblet had “given birth.” Joe started to realize his good fortune and began to lend Yaakov anything he wanted – a kiddush cup here and a GPS there and each time two would come back with the explanation that magically, the item had “given birth.”
So it wasn’t too surprising when Yaakov showed up and requested his most strange request; “Do you have a chandelier that perhaps I could borrow?” now Joe did have a chandelier but lending it out was somewhat of a bother – hiring an electrician and removing it, a real effort for the most unusual of requests – after all, who lends a chandelier? But Joe reasoned that his luck would double once again, and lend the chandelier he did.
Two days later Yaakov came to the house. With a sullen look he offered Joe his condolence wishes. “Condolences,” Joe asked “For what?” “well, you didn’t know this, but unfortunately, your chandelier died this morning,” came Yaakov explanation.
Joe couldn’t take it. “A chandelier doesn’t die, you little thief. It’s an inanimate object. Do you think I’d be so foolish to let your little trickery go here?” he began to shout.
“Wait a minute,” said Yaakov. “If you think hammers, goblets, Kiddush cups and GPS machines can multiply, why can’t a chandelier die?”
Rav Yaakov Galinsky notes that Torah is easily falsified not only if we diminish from her, but also when we foolishly add to the words of Toras Hashem. If we haphazardly “add” to the Torah, we are actually taking away from her.
Can you ever remember a time that someone misrepresented a Torah value by falsely making it up? Did you understand why s/he did it? Did it hurt your faith in them? In the Torah or a Torah lifestyle?
We too, can sometimes subtract from the value of Torah-true values by adding to them and/or misrepresenting them. This is especially true when we are trying to educate our children. How might we carefully explain things to our children in a manner that conveys Torah values on the one hand but stays Torah true on the other? What can WE do to keep tomorrow’s Torah Jews on target?
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.