(Torah Portion Noach) Hope!
G-d brought a great flood upon the world during Noach’s era, (1656 years after creation).
The Torah refers to this flood as the Mabul. However, the Hebrew word Mabul doesn’t actually mean flood waters, rather, it means confusion or chaos, for the entire world became mixed up by the massive flood.
In truth, there was a Mabul – confusion – within society before the flood came, as the Torah relates that the world was exceedingly corrupt with licentious behavior being the norm and thievery prevalent. Since society became confused and disorderly, G-d exacted a punishment measure for measure through the confusion brought on by the waters of the flood.
Amidst by the confusion of the generation of the flood, was one righteous person, Noach, whom G-d entrusted with the task of saving mankind and animal life in the Ark. The Ark, due to its connection to G-d, was a sanctuary of calm during the storm.
Today a storm is raging, with the unbridled terror perpetrated throughout Israel by ruthless and barbaric Palestinians. This is the cause of confusion, fear, grief, pain and anxiety.
How are to respond to this volatile situation and protect ourselves and our brethren?
When we had prophets we could ask what G-d wanted us to hone in on and repair in order to protect ourselves.
For example, in the book of our prophets (Kings II), the wicked and powerful King Sanchairev of Ashur, in his final quest to conquer the entire world, surrounded the city of Jerusalem with 185,000 troops.
Chizkiyahu, the king of Israel was extremely worried and prayed sincerely to G-d. The prophet Isaiah told Chizkiyahu in the name of G-d that there will be a great salvation.
It was the night of the Passover Seder and despite the looming threat the Jews went on with conducting their Seder as usual. When Sanchariv’s top officer, Ravshakai a Jewish apostate, overheard the Jews singing the Hallel, praising G-d, he approached Sancherev telling him that he has a feeling that G-d will do a miracle for His people. Sancharev shrugged it off.
An angel came in the middle of the night and killed them all! The next morning there was not a sound coming from outside Jerusalem’s walls. The Jews checked and saw the 185,000 dead troops.
The Jews were spared and saved!
Sancherev and two of his sons were spared. What do you think their reaction was to this awesome G-dly miracle? The Medrash relates that Sancherev went home and bowed to his idol – which was a beam salvaged from Noach’s ark. Sancharev’s son’s overheard their father pledging to the idol that he was going to kill his sons for they were the only ones to survive while everyone else’s children were killed. They immediately killed their father Sancherev! Cruelty and lack of clarity is nothing new to people who are raised with and breathe hatred.
But today, when we don’t have the gift of prophesy and direct communication from G-d telling us what we should repair, we must look and examine what our great people who preceded us did when they were faced with irresolvable situations.
We have an awesome weapon. The weapon is prayer, good deeds and deeper connectivity to G-d – this instills calm within us. This response is most effective, for if we realize that we cannot rely on external means of protection and we truly and sincerely turn to G-d, placing our trust in Him – the unimaginable and miraculous can happen!
Two Psalms to recite:
1. For the conductor, a psalm by David.
2. May the Hashem answer you on a day of distress; may the name of the God of Jacob fortify you.
3. May He send your aid from His sanctuary, and may He support you from Zion.
4. May He remember all your offerings and may He accept your burnt offerings forever.
5. May He give you as your heart [desires], and may He fulfill all your counsel.
6. Let us sing praises at your salvation, and let us assemble in the name of our God; may the Hashem fulfill all your requests.
7. Now I know that the Hashem saved His anointed; He answered him from His holy heavens; with the mighty acts of salvation from His right hand.
8. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we, mention and call out the name of the Hashem our God.
9. They kneel and fall, but we rise and gain strength.
10. O Hashem our King, answer us on the day we call.
A song of ascents. From the depths I have called You, O Hashem.
2. O Hashem, hearken to my voice; may Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
- O God, if You keep [a record of] iniquities, O Hashem, who will stand?
4. For forgiveness is with You, in order that You be feared.
5. I place my hope in Hashem; my soul hoped, and in His word I yearned.
6. My soul yearns for Hashem, among those who await the dawn, those who await the dawn.
7. Israel, hope to the Hashem, for kindness is with the Hashem and much redemption is with Him.
8. And He will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.
A Prayer for protection:
O Guardian of Israel safeguard the remnant of Israel; let not Israel be destroyed, those who proclaim: Hear O Israel: Hashem is our G-d, Hashem, the One and Only.
Let us examine our ways and investigate them and return to You for Your right hand is extended to accept those who return.
Our Father our King, be gracious and answer us, though we have no worthy deeds treat us with charity and kindness and save us.
Hashem save! May the King answer us on the day we call.
Our brothers, the entire house of Israel, who are found in distress and captivity, who are situated whether at sea or on land, may the Omnipresent One have mercy on them and remove them from distress to relief, from darkness to light, from subjugation to redemption, now, speedily and at a time that comes soon, and let us say: Amen.
Have a most enjoyabe and restful Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid Saks