("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.)
“Has anyone seen Sam?”
The question became the center of town gossip – and concern.
The lovable, but not too bright town fixture, Sam, seemed to have disappeared. Sam was to the community what a sprig of parsley is to the top of a platter – you don’t necessarily notice it when it is there but you CERTAINLY know when it is gone. Sam, who would walk from town store to town store and from Shul to Shul, park to park and block to block, gathering and dispensing town happenings, wasn’t mean-spirited, just barely noticeable. That is, until, one day someone noticed that he was gone.
And then EVERYONE began to notice that he was gone.
The people began their own search to figure out where he could be.
In fact, the frenzy had gotten so big, the only other news that seemed to be on anyone’s radar screen was that a new candy factory had opened in the nearby city which would bring a series of job opportunities to the local area. In honor of the grand opening, the factory was passing out free samples.
So samples and Sam – that was the daily news.
One day Sam suddenly reappeared. A crowd soon gathered around him as people, worried sick about him inquired into where he had been. “Well,” began Sam “when I heard about the grand opening of the factory, I wanted to be a part of it. But I discovered that I lacked the ability to get to the city as I lacked the funds. So, I walked and hitched my way into the big city and found my way in. And there it was, the factory, and the job opportunities… it was amazing.”
“So, did you get a job?” someone asked him.
“What job?” came Sam’s reply. “I didn’t go for a job, the free samples were amazing. Everyone who showed up got a candy. Here – I even took two, one to have and one to show.”
The Chofetz Chaim once pointed out that our souls come a great distance to this world in order to secure our places in the ultimate world. However, when our time will be done, the same soul will travel back and will be asked to report – did it find and do its job? Or did it go for the small candy.
Our job in this world is to set goals that are proper and practical in Hashem's eye in order to make sure that we are ultimately as successful as we can be – not only in our careers and our leisure activities – nor even in our Torah accomplishments if they are merely ones of conquest. The ideal mission in life is the one that promotes Hashem’s mission for us – uniquely and ideally. Yes, dedication to Torah study and mitzvah observance is critical to that process as are strong ethics and stellar Middos. However , a wholesome Jew applies the Torah principles to himself appropriately and uses them to direct each and every thought, emotion and activity in one’s life. True, there are candy samples of success along the way, but the master of the mission learns not to suffice with mere sample offerings.
What is YOUR unique mission within Judaism and the world?
What are YOUR “free samples”? How can you use the taste of success to motivate rather than alter your life’s goals?
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.