Friday, July 01, 2016

It's Not About the Fish . . .

The goal of this blog is to foster some ethical thinking at the Shabbat table....
Tehila - our 6-year-old - came home from camp with a goldfish.

And very explicit instructions.

"Feed it once a day, just a little bit, and not more."

She was very, very careful to follow the instructions.

She also changed the water every day.

She named her pet "Goldie".

(Not to be confused with her big sister Goldy.)

And a few days later, Goldie was dead.

Her siblings all begged her to flush Goldie's carcass down the toilet.

Tehila would not hear of that.

"I want to give her a lavaya," she said firmly.

The fishbowl was starting to smell. My wife put it on the deck.

The next day, shovel in hand, she chose a spot at the far end of the backyard.

I stood at her side, holding the fishbowl.

She dug a sizable hole and then insisted that she personally pour out the contents of the bowl.

"Should I pour it all in?" she asked me.

"Yes, go ahead."

The water filled the hole and Goldie floated on top.

Then it began to subside and Tehila shoveled a bit of dirt over her pet.

"Goodbye Goldie," I said.

"Goodbye Goldie," she said.

I am telling this story not because it is a poignant heartbreaker about a child's attachment to her pet.

I don't think she had that kind of attachment to this fish.

I think that her attachment was to what she considered "doing it the right way."

What's interesting to me is how her perception of "the right way" was so different from that of everyone else in the family.

They all thought that "the right way" was to flush the dead fish down the toilet.

This then leads to this week's question for your table:

Is "the right way" always a matter of personal opinion? Or can a person sometimes just be flat-out wrong? And if so, how can you tell the difference?

Shabbat Shalom

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1 comment:

Zepharia Andres said...

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