“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).

United States President, Calvin Coolidge was at his “Summer White House” in theBlack Hillswhen he gave his secretary,Everett Sanders, a piece of paper that said, “I do not choose to run for president in 1928.” Sanders endorsed Coolidge’s declaration, and the announcement was scheduled for the 9 a.m. press conference on Tuesday August 2, 1927.

However, to avoid an overreaction by the stock market on the east coast, the announcement was moved to midday. At 11:30, Coolidge cut out strips of paper with his statement on it, and at the conference, handed each reporter a strip. Without providing any further information, Coolidge remarked, "There will be nothing more from this office today."

Upon Coolidge's announcement, the gathered media were stunned. The public, too, were shocked by the announcement. Many felt Coolidge could easily win a second full term, based on “Coolidge Prosperity,” the booming economy, and a more than $300 million surplus. After issuing the famous statement, he was besieged by the media hoping for more information as to why he was backing down. Tradition has it that one reporter was more persistent than the others and followed the President to the door of his library.

“Why don’t you want to be president again, Mr. Coolidge?” he asked.

The president looked him in the eye and explained “Because, in that job, there is no room to seek  advancement.”

Rabbi Bentzion Alkolai asked how it is that we have been in the exile so long and still have not been redeemed. Isn’t Hashem only able to punish for a maximum of 4 generations? He answered that the redemption in Mitzrayim came about because the people cried out to be redeemed. They sought advancement.

The Baal Shem Tov adds that there is an additional redemption that exists for the personal soul (Karva El Nafshee Giaala). The Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk explains that the way to that personal Geulah comes when a person seeks Hashem even from his darkest places. When we seek Hashem we shall find him – and advancement too. The trick is to open up our minds for the spiritual search.

What opportunities for advancement exist in YOUR life?

Are YOU still seeking advancement? In what way?

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.