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Point of Unacceptability

Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32 )

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

In this week's parsha, God sends a flood to destroy the world. And the big question is: What was so terrible about Noah's generation that they were deserving of destruction?

The Midrash says that although their society was filled with various corruption and abuse, God didn't decree the Flood until these things became celebrated in popular songs, and were then legalized. Immorality is one thing, but when it gets society's stamp of approval, then the possibility of reversing the downward trend becomes very unlikely. So for the generation of Noah, that meant rebuilding from scratch.

In society today, business and the media are constantly trying to push the envelope of acceptability - whether it's in fashion, music, videogames, or general lifestyle choices. What's always amazed me is how parents are invariably shocked by the current level of permissibility - just as their own parents were equally shocked a generation ago!

We keep moving the marker. And at some point, it seems that an individual has to ask himself: Have things gotten to be 'too much'?

So take a few minutes and think about the negative behaviors going on around you, things that you may even have been drawn into. Maybe it's office gossip, maybe it's a style of immodest dress, maybe it's a certain level of violence in film.

But get in touch: Is there something that deep down bothers you - that you sense is wrong?

Because, at some point, the excuse of 'everyone's doing it' just doesn't work anymore.

And that's exactly what the generation of the Flood found out, in a most unfortunate way.

So take the great step to independence: Identify the point of unacceptability, and decide that you've had enough and don't want to be part of it anymore.

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