Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32 )
GOOD MORNING! One time I returned from a meeting to find a Meter Maid (does anyone still use that name?) writing a parking ticket for my car. When she looked up, I smiled and said, "This is my car. When you finish writing the ticket, you may give it to me." She looked completely puzzled ... and then asked in disbelief, "You're not going to yell at me for writing the ticket?" "No," I replied, "I thought I had enough money in the meter. I was wrong. I'm late. I deserve the ticket." She stood in disbelief ... and then she tore up the ticket saying, "All day long people yell and scream at me not to write a ticket; I can't write a ticket to the one person who treats me like a human being."
Life is like a mirror. The people you see reflect back to you the way you present yourself. If you look happy, they will respond buoyantly. If you look upset, they will be cautious or concerned. If you want a joyous life try to be happy around others. It will make it easier on them and more enjoyable for you. (Remember, everyone causes happiness ... some when they come, some when they leave. )
The Torah teaches us, "Love your fellow human being as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). It is often translated as "Love your neighbor as yourself." However, Rabbi Mordechai Gifter taught that while the words "neighbor" and "fellow human being" are often used synonymously, in everyday speech the word "neighbor" is used to denote someone living or located nearby, while the obligation of this commandment includes a complete stranger who lives far away.
The general rule for this commandment is that anything you would want others to do for you, you should do for others (Rambam, Hilchos Aivel 14:1). The great Hillel once taught a convert, "That which is hateful to you, do not do unto others. That is the basis of the Torah. (Shabbos 31a). The Baal Shem Tov used to say, "Love your fellow man as yourself - though you have many faults, nevertheless, you still love yourself. That is how you should feel toward your friend. Despite his faults, love him."
I once saw a handprinted sign written with a marker on a large piece of posterboard. It was on the wall of a 90 year old woman's apartment. I thought that you might enjoy it ... perhaps even benefit from it!
For more on "Love Your Neighbor" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!
Torah Portion of the Week
The story of one righteous man in an evil generation. The Almighty commands Noah to build the ark on a hill far from the water. He built it over a period of 120 years. People deride Noah and ask him, "Why are you building a boat on a hill?" Noah explains that there will be a flood if people do not correct their ways. We see from this the patience of the Almighty for people to correct their ways and the genius of arousing people's curiosity so that they will ask a question and hopefully hear the answer.
The generation does not do Teshuva, returning from their evil ways, and God brings a flood for 40 days. They leave the ark 365 days later when the earth has once again become habitable. The Almighty makes a covenant and makes the rainbow the sign of the covenant that He will never destroy all of life again by water (hence, James Baldwin's book, The Fire Next Time). When one sees a rainbow it is an omen to do Teshuva - to recognize the mistakes you are making in life, regret them, correct them/make restitution, and ask for forgiveness from anyone you have wronged as well as from the Almighty.
Noah plants a vineyard, gets drunk and then occurs the mysterious incident in the tent after which Noah curses his grandson Canaan. The Torah portion concludes with the story of the Tower of Babel and then a genealogy from Noah's son, Shem, to Abram (Abraham).
* * *
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"Noah walked with the Almighty" (Genesis 6:9).
What lesson about life is the Torah teaching us through this verse? What does it mean that Noah "walked" with the Almighty?
Rabbi Obadia Sforno, a classic commentator, explains that Noah walked in the Almighty's ways, which means to do good to others. How? The people acted corruptly and Noah tried to teach them how to improve their actions.
There are different levels in helping others. We find in the Rambam (Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Gifts to the Poor 10:7-14) that there are eight levels of giving tzedakah (the Hebrew word used for charity; there is no word in Hebrew for charity. Tzedakah means "justice, righteousness.") The highest level is to help a person earn a living on his own. Why is this the highest level? When one helps a person become self-sufficient, he is helping him not just once, but for the rest of his life. Similarly, when you help someone become a better person you are not just helping him for the moment; you are helping him accomplish more his entire life.
Not only will he do many more good deeds, but there will be a positive influence on his children and grandchildren. The more elevated a person is the more he will share his high ideals with his family. You are helping this person's future generations! Strive to do the ultimate - help others to become better people. (Maybe even send them the Shabbat Shalom Fax ... email their name, fax number or email address to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make sure they get it).
CANDLE LIGHTING - October 31
(or go to http://www.aish.com/shabbat/candlelighting.asp)
Guatemala 5:16 - Hong Kong 5:29 - Honolulu 5:41
J'Burg 6:05 - London 4:18 - Los Angeles 5:43
Melbourne 7:35 - Mexico City 5:45 - Miami 6:22
New York 5:35 - Singapore 6:33 - Toronto 5:51
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
A different world cannot be built
by indifferent people.
-- Peter Marshall
In Honor of the Marriage of
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With Love, Aunt Ellen
Rabbi Kalman Packouz
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