Writers and speakers keep their eyes open for interesting things to incorporate into their columns or weave into their speeches. It may be a news item or a personal encounter.
For some reason certain things stood out for me this week and compelled me to write about them. I was able to merge them with the portion of Noach which we will read on Shabbos.
A humorous news item caught my eye. “Turkish Man Reported Missing, Joins Search Party Seeking Himself.” The man was drinking and separated from his friend. His wife reported him missing. A search party began their way through the woods where he was last seen. It turns out the missing man fell asleep in a cottage and in the morning he saw a group searching for someone. He joined the group for about a half hour searching…for himself. When he heard them call out his name, he broke out into a cold sweat and told them he was the one missing. They did not believe him up until his friend positively identified him.
There are a few observations that can be seen from this story and I would like to point out one of them. There are times when we are in the pursuit to find meaning or purpose and we are at a loss, so we search and follow the group to see what they are pursuing, only to realize that we are truly searching for our inner selves. Our mission is to find, expound and capitalize on our personal G-d given gifts and strengths.
Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram’s outage this week sent many people scrambling to take a look at themselves and not others. Many said that the half day hiatus of not having to respond, pursue or mind the business of others brought them tremendous calm and enjoyment.
In truth, the holy day of Shabbos brings us this respite each week, but this was a certain taste of tranquility during the active and fast paced week.
Noach spent a year on the Ark while the world was destroyed. During that year he and his family were busy 24/7 taking care of and feeding the animals. Each animal had different eating times and habits.
I came across a reason why Noach was so consumed with the animals. It was so that Noach wouldn’t have time to process the magnitude of the loss of society. G-d gave him an outlet and distraction to be focused on preserving the animal life for the future rather than dwelling on the fate of the world.
As we were driving on the highway during the rain this week, a rainbow appeared. We were literally driving through it. The rainbow is significant because it is the symbol of the covenant with G-d that even if the world is worthy of a deluge, He will not flood the entire world again, as stated in our Parsha.
Many wonder how it is that a rainbow is the symbol that G-d is reminding us of His covenant, and if not for His covenant the world would be worthy of a deluge. After all, a rainbow seems to be a natural manifestation of the sun hitting the mist of the rain.
On Shemini Ateres – at Mussaf we began inserting into the second blessing of the Amidah, the phrase, “He brings the winds and sends down the rains.”
Stating G-d’s power of rain within the blessing which speaks of G-d’s power of resurrecting the dead can be explained as follows:
The Vilna Goan says that people who want to deny G-d’s existence can come up with excuses and explanations to disregard and dismiss G-d from this awesome world and claim that everything is just natural occurrences. There is a set order in nature; the sun rises and sets every day. However, there is no set time when it rains; it doesn’t follow a natural order. It must be that the rains are governed by G-d. So too, the power of resurrection is only through G-d. Since rain and resurrection show the supremacy of G-d, rain is included in the blessing of resurrection.
Perhaps, since the rainbow is produced by the rain, which is brought by G-d Himself, it is a continuation of G-d’s personal involvement, and indicates to us that He is holding on to His treaty and reminds us to mend our ways.
The Torah calls the flood a ‘Mabul’ – Mabul means confusion. The world was totally confused due to thievery and adulterous and idolatrous behavior. It was an upside-down world. Our Sages tell us that the generation of the arrival of the Messiah will be upside-down – the immature will lead and have a say in the face of the mature.
This week brought distressing news; Casey Desantis, the young wife of the Governor of Florida, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Casey is about the same age as my mother o.b.m. was when she faced it. My mother chose to keep her illness private – just the family and close friends knew, and prayed for her.
Someone in the public sphere is limited in their choice to keep things private, and we all pray for her.
What caught me by surprise was a news item that some thoroughly insensitive people were trolling the governor’s wife and mocking her and her diagnosis. The inconsiderateness and blatant insolence is inconceivable.
This is the feel of the generation of the Mabul. The upside is, that it also means Moshiach – our redemption – is on its way!