Parsha Noach - Bereshith/Genesis 6:9 - 11:32
This week, the second hurricane in less than a month hit the US. With Parsha Noach being our reading this week, it’s hard not to think of any parallels or connections between the two. What comes to mind is the topic of kindness.
Noah’s world was a corrupt world. There was blatant idolatry and rampant sexual immorality. Yet, it’s taught that neither of those two - as bad as they both are - warranted the destruction of the world.
What tipped the world over the edge was the lack of kindness.
The earth was filled with violence (Gen/Ber. 6:11). The people were not just apathetic towards one another, they were continually inflicting harm upon one another. That, YAHUAH could not endure.
YAHUAH created the world on the foundation of kindness. He created man to be the recipient of His kindness, and the whole world was created for man. Continually, He sustains the world out of kindness.
It was YAHUAH's desire for man - who was created in His image - to also be kind. He created Chava (Eve) for that very purpose: so Adam had someone to show kindness to. He gave Adam someone who could appreciate his kindness, show gratitude, and be capable of showing kindness as well, all of which the animals could not do.
However, sin entered the world, and man then had a choice - to show kindness or not, to do good toward one another or not. For ten generations, man consistently chose the latter, and as a result, mankind and the spiritual level of the world fell to a level beyond repair. The violence had gone too far.
So, YAHUAH started again. He wiped the slate clean with the flood.
Why did He use water and not fire or some other method? Because YAHUAH had a greater intention than just destroying the wicked. He wanted a thorough cleansing of the earth that not only washed away the undesirable but also changed the very essence of the world.
The world was immersed in a mikvah, a mikvah that not only cleansed but spiritually elevated the world. The world itself changed in the flood waters.
YAHUAH brought into the world the element of teshuvah, the ability to turn around, to improve and make changes for the better, the ability to start over anew.
The flood was a worldwide teshuvah. It was the turning point after ten generations of decline. Noah started the world in an upward climb. Ten generations from Noah came Abraham who was the beginning of the nation that would endure and be a continual light in the earth to lead man back to YAHUAH.
Now, all mankind has the ability to do teshuvah, to turn from their evil ways to do what’s right in the eyes of YAHUAH.
Everyone has the ability to improve himself, to better himself, and to change in positive ways.
If we’re not living as the people YAHUAH created us to be, we have the ability to change. We have the potential to be better than what we are no matter our current level or present state. Even if we think we’ve fallen too low, we can still start over and climb up.
We can change.
And so comes the connection to the present storms and disasters on the earth…
What usually happens after a major disaster? An outpouring of kindness.
Neighbors helping neighbors. Strangers helping strangers. Donations collected and disbursed, and everyone pulling together to uplift the afflicted.
Yet, all too often, it’s only a matter of time before all that kindness wanes. It’s only a matter of time before everyone forgets what their neighbor is still going through. Everyone slowly retreats back to their own little circle, living their own personal lives...until the next storm hits.
Let’s not wait for another reason, no, another reminder, to show kindness. Let’s learn the lesson of Noah’s generation and take full advantage of the gift YAHUAH gave us as a result - the gift of teshuvah.
May we all continually do teshuvah no matter where we are. May we continually grow and improve ourselves, and learn to be kind on a continual basis. May we all come to the point where we will no longer need reminders to show kindness, and the earth can fulfill the purpose of its creation. May Mashiach come speedily and soon. So may it be.