("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.)
After the revelry of a family Purim Seudah, a Rabbi took his family home on the public buses of Yirushalayim. As one might imagine, the buses of Yirushalayim, especially on Purim evening , can provide tremendous entertainment for the traveler. Simply put, one does not know who -- or what – one might encounter on the bus.
This trip was to be no different. After helping his family settle into seats, the Rabbi noticed a boisterous group of teens sitting directly across from him. Heads-shaven and clothing strategically torn, the Rabbi was not sure if the group was merely filled with people who were far from authentic Judaism or perhaps not Jewish at all.
Suddenly, one of the teens spoke to him: “Hey,” he said, “Are you a Rabbi perhaps?”
Not wishing to overly commit himself to danger, the Rabbi responded cautiously, “Why do you ask?”
“Nah, just had a question for a rabbi, that’s all” the young man explained.
“What was the question?” asked the Rabbi.
“You know, it is Purim today. I was wondering, Hashem’s name isn’t in the Megillah. I wanted to ask a Rabbi why…” the teen said.
“Why do YOU think?” the rabbi asked the young man.
“Well, I had assumed that since Haman was a descendant of Amalek, and his name so prominently featured in the Megillah, Hashem didn’t want His name associated with such evil,” said the teen.
“Not exactly where I would have gone,” answered the Rabbi, “but a great answer. Purim is the Holiday that reminds us of the hidden miracle. It reminds us of the fact that Hashem is not always apparent but He is always there running the world. That’s why he hides his name in the Megillah.”
“Thanks” said the young man contemplatively, and got off with his friends at the next stop.
Rav Volch tells this story about an episode that occurred in his own life one Purim while traveling home from a Purim Seudah with his family. He was amazed at how after the story was over, he found himself contemplating the two answers and perspectives each of the participants had offered.
The young man’s answer – Hashem wants to distance himself from evil – offers us powerful insight into where he was coming from. Perhaps he too, could distance himself from trouble and select a life that might be more fitting for finding a comfortable relationship with Hashem.
At the same time, Rav Volch’s own answer – that Hashem runs the world in sometimes mysterious ways – is essential to bear in mind when when approaching truth even from those that appear less than credible on the surface. One thing is clear --- the best lessons learned are the ones we teach ourselves.
Equally important to us though, is the idea that both men engaged in contemplation. Both had been throgh an experience and sought to relate it to themselves.
What lessons catch you as you learn the Megillah?
What do these lessons inspire within YOU?
Let’s “table” the discussion – by discussing it with our children, spouses, families and guests and open an exciting discussion into our homes and community.