Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Being strong enough to be “different”

This week's Torah Portion of the Week reminds us that we shouldn't be afraid to buck the crowd.  By being "different," having the guts to do what's right, even when everyone else is going the "wrong way" could save the world.

Genesis Chapter 6 בְּרֵאשִׁית

ה וַיַּרְא יְהוָה, כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ, וְכָל-יֵצֶר מַחְשְׁבֹת לִבּוֹ, רַק רַע כָּל-הַיּוֹם.

5 And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

ו וַיִּנָּחֶם יְהוָה, כִּי-עָשָׂה אֶת-הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ; וַיִּתְעַצֵּב, אֶל-לִבּוֹ.

6 And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.

ז וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶמְחֶה אֶת-הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר-בָּרָאתִי מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה, מֵאָדָם עַד-בְּהֵמָה, עַד-רֶמֶשׂ וְעַד-עוֹף הַשָּׁמָיִם: כִּי נִחַמְתִּי, כִּי עֲשִׂיתִם.

7 And the LORD said: 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and creeping thing, and fowl of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.'

ח וְנֹחַ, מָצָא חֵן בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה. {פ}

8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. {P}

ט אֵלֶּה, תּוֹלְדֹת נֹחַ--נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה, בְּדֹרֹתָיו: אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים, הִתְהַלֶּךְ-נֹחַ.

9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was in his generations a man righteous and whole-hearted; Noah walked with God.

When I was growing up, my parents would always say:

"If everyone was jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump, too?"

G-d was angry, disgusted with the behavior of the humans He had created.  He was ready to destroy them all. But then He saw that there was one man who was different from the others, one who made it worthwhile to save the world.  That man was Noah, Noah.  We, as parents and teachers, must teach that lesson.  Sometimes it isn't easy, because most people like being like others.  They like to fit in.
May G-d give us the strength to do what's right, even if it makes us very "different."


Anonymous said...

But there are many legitimate aspects of halachic Judaism that stress conformity.

Batya said...

Following G-d's Laws is not conforming to evil. Obviously you have your "issues," whoever you are.