In times of uncertainty, it is easy to ignore personal problems or to concentrate on one’s flaws, but we all have righteousness inside us. It takes strong will and determination to make a change. When people feel they are alone in their endeavors, many may walk away. This was not the case for Noah. Although Noah is the one of the very few individuals that G-d describes as righteous, as we see in Parshat Noah, even the righteous make mistakes.
Parshat Noah tells us the story of Noah’s Ark. In this story, G-d is upset with the evil of humankind. G-d decides to destroy the earth and all its inhabitants but plans to save one righteous man, Noah, his descendants, and one pair of each species of animal to later repopulate the earth. After a year on this boat, Noah and his companions are finally able to get off the ark, including his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japeth. When Noah gets off the ark he goes to work in the garden and one night becomes drunk on the grapes he grows. Two of his sons, Shem and Japeth, cover him up to save his image, while the third son, Ham, exploits his mistake. Noah shows love for Shem and Japheth but not Ham.
Although Noah was known as a righteous person in the Torah, even he had flaws. His flaws do not mean he was a bad person, but just that he was human. This teaches that people should not be held to the standard of perfection, for that is unrealistic. Complete righteousness is unattainable, but underlying intentions should always be good. This can be obtained by consistently doing mitzvot to achieve Tikkun Olam.
Our world today is far from perfect, but determination to do small acts of kindness can go a long way: after all, we all are descendants of Noah. Through perseverance toward kindness, we, like Noah, can work to overcome humanity’s imperfections. Imagine what the sum of each of our actions can accomplish and the impact this may have on our world.
Ellie Sweet and Josh Elkin
71st Wisconsin Regional Shlichim
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