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Saving the World

Friday, 20 October, 2017 - 2:53 pm

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A millennium after creation, humanity had descended into utter chaos. With no law and order and natural human selfishness unrestrained, civilization was rampant with corruption, thievery and murder. G-d was unwelcome in His own world.

To refine the earth so that it be able to once again reflect divinity, G-d caused a devastating flood to wash away all living organisms. Only Noach, his family and a representation of all species of animal and bird life miraculously survived in the legendary Ark that Noach was instructed to build. 

Noach dutifully followed G-d's instructions and he toiled on the project for 120 years. In addition to constructing the massive boat, he needed to stock provisions to sustain his family and all the animals for the 365 days they would be ensconced in the floating box.

You would think that after his mission was complete and the rain began to fall Noach would kick up his feet and enjoy the year-long cruise. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whereas animals in the wild fend for themselves, Noach was the very first zookeeper and he was responsible for the animals sailing with him. He tirelessly fed them around the clock and it was only due to his great devotion and attention that they all survived and were able to continue their species in the new world.

Despite the fact that his family assisted him with the feedings, the non-stop work proved to be a heavy burden for the 600-year old Noach and he soon became ill. To make matters worse, he was once delayed in feeding the lion and the ferocious cat bit Noach, causing him to groan and cough up blood for the rest of the voyage.

Nevertheless, Noach did not call in sick and he relentlessly forged ahead with his routine of non-stop care for all on the Ark.

This detail of the story is an inspirational lesson for all time. We all have a unique role in nourishing the world with G-dliness. Sharing Torah messages, encouraging others to do another mitzvah and perpetrating acts of goodness and kindness to the best of our abilities.

At times we encounter hardships in fulfilling our mission and we could start to wonder if it is all worth it.

Noach teaches us that even when saving the world, do not expect it to be easy and comfortable. If you encounter challenges on the way, don't complain. Keep moving forward.

This lesson is communicated to us through Noach whose name means rest and relaxation. We pray that as we continue to execute our respective missions to the world, G-d should grant us all our needs in the best possible way.

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Levi Greenberg

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