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. (Dedicated to the Refuah Sheleima of Shalva Adina Bas Sarah Chana).
Over 100 years ago, an experienced jurist offered advice to a young man about to engage in a lawsuit.
“Whatever other mistakes you might make,” he said, “don’t make the pricey mistake of hiring an expensive lawyer. My study of juries has demonstrated that when a poor man sues for moderate damages, he distances himself from nine out of 10 juries who notice his using an overpriced attorney whose fees are known to run into the thousands of dollars.”
“Now there might be many different explanations for this strange phenomenon. It IS possible that the high priced lawyer agreed to a lower fee because he believes so strongly in the justice due the plaintiff. However, I reckon that most juries assume that if the plaintiff can afford such an overpriced individual, he must not be so bad off after all. Then they cut the damages awarded in half,”
“So therefore in a case of this kind,” said the older gentleman, “I recommend that you hire a fairly able lawyer who cannot command outlandish fees and you are more likely to receive the compensation amount that you are currently seeking.”(based on the New York Times, “Where Consistency Pays” 8/14/1910)
The concept of consistency is often associated with routine. It often gets regulated to mundane if we are not careful. Indeed, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein Shlita echoes the fear of so many members of the American Rabbinate of the last 250 years who feared the lack of spirit and attendance at the daily services despite their synagogues’ capacity crowds on Yom Kippur and other Jewish holidays. In the hearts of many on the American Judaic scene, consistency of Jewish service – regular attendance at Minyan and regular Torah study – seem to “take away” from the uniqueness of special occasions. Is this a healthy Jewish attitude?
Truth be told, the significance of consistency – even without the pomp and circumstance – the Chazzanus and singing majesty -- of a daily Minyan is more crucial to the survival of the Jewish people. After all, the Talmudic dictum “Tadir V’ShEino Tadir, Tadir Kodem -- that which takes place more often comes first” because in Judaism, we admire the consistency and want to see it continue. It is not always the grandest service – or the highest paid lawyer – who secures the best payout in the game of life. Rather, it is the consistent and persistent processor who has been known to bring success to the process.
One of the great tragedies that occurred on the 17th of Tammuz as highlighted by the Talmud was the cessation of the Korban HaTamid. The great tragedy was the end of consistent service to Hashem. Once consistency is lost, our commitments are open to failure.
Where can WE implement MORE consistency in our spiritual lives?
How can we balance the consistency with the desire to approach each part of our daily opportunities with a newness and an excitement?
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.