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 & Eliyahu Aharon Ben Yocheved Yetta Ettel).
(Hat Tip to Rabbi Naftali Lavenda)
Dave, Warren and Helen are all collectors. Dave’s collecting habits earn him the label of “clever and very persistent at solving problems.” Warren’s habit makes him “fully equipped to do something enormous.” Helen’s collection required professional help. All three of them are “hoarders,” but in different ways.
Dave is a squirrel being observed by researchers at Berkeley. Their hoarding habits are very interesting as they analyze different nuts and even use decoy techniques to hide their nuts. This allows them to survive a winter when food resources are sparse.
Warren is Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. His company now sits on 49 billion dollars in cash, a type of hoarding that can be viewed by Wall Street as a bad habit, but not when it comes to Warren Buffet, who is expected to do something big with the money.
Helen was a compulsive hoarder who never threw anything away. Her home was filled floor to ceiling with old newspapers, clothing, even food. After watching a TV show about hoarders, she realized that she had a problem and sought help.
Hoarding can have positive and negative connotations. On a very simple level, if someone is collecting for the purpose of using the collected item at a later date, it can be positive, and even clever. However, if there is no end game to the collection, it can be negative and even unhealthy.
Shemini Atzeres, in a sense, is a form of hoarding. Sforno and R. Shimshon R. Hirsch (both to Vayikra 23:36) note that the word “atzor” can mean collect or preserve. We collect all of our spiritual gains of the season on this day. Simchas Torah is a natural continuation of this idea as we model the idea that we collect, store and add on to what we have in our spiritual, Torah lives rather than dispose of the old. This is best seen in our practice of completing the Torah and immediately going back to the beginning. We are not merely holding on to the old, we immediately return to the beginning to add and expand on what we have learned and attained.
What have YOU gained during this season?
How will YOU expand on those new attainments in the upcoming year?
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.