Friday Voices: Parashah Noach
As I started to write about this week’s Parashah, Noach, my mind kept returning to last week’s Parashah, B’reishit, especially its opening describing when God created the world. After each stage of creation, God reviews his work and finds that “it is good.”
This is a busy time in the Jewish year. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are followed closely by Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and the start of a new religious school year. WRJ is busy planning programming and events for its coming Centennial year, as well as welcoming new members and new leadership in both our sisterhoods and districts.
Now is a good time to stop, take a slight pause, and look back over the past 12 months and see what has been accomplished in our sisterhoods, communities and districts. What are those areas that we can look back on and say that “we did well.” Which of our efforts fell a bit short of the mark?
Re-evaluation is a valuable tool in planning for the future. The personal introspection we undertook during the recent High Holy Days can also be done for our organization. Just as we as individuals seek to improve each so, too, can our sisterhoods strive to do the same.
In this week’s Parashah, the people of the earth have not lived up to their potential. In fact, they had fallen so low that God decides to destroy all but the family of Noah, the only righteous man existing, and all the animals.
What begins in a terrifying manner, a flood destroying mankind, ends with the beauty and serenity of a rainbow and a great promise from God, who vows to never again destroy mankind. When next faced with gross disobedience at the tower of Babel, God does not destroy the people. Instead he makes it impossible for them to continue in their folly by creating many languages, so one cannot understand what the other is saying.
In these days of instant communication, not understanding one another seems like a terrible fate. Indeed, in today’s world, a lot of effort is given to breaking down barriers between different cultures. We now embrace diversity and strive to understand those who are different from us.
Let us look forward to the coming WRJ Centennial year by striving to improve ourselves both as individuals and as an organization. Let us also remember the importance of communication and diversity.
As we light our Shabbat candles this Friday night, let us hope their brightness will illuminate our lives with good purpose and success.