I thought it would be a great idea to start learning more about the פרשה. So that when Shabbos comes I should at least feel a bit more connected to what פרשה is being read in shul. I came across a book by R’ Goldwasser that I had in my house, called “Something to Say: Insights into the Parashah for every occasion”. So I took a look at it and felt it was a perfect way to connect to the פרשה.
Last week was Bereishis, the beginning of the new cycle, and it would be a shame to have skipped that out, so I will first talk about Bereishis and then move on to Noach.
From Something to say:
And God said to Cain, “Why are you annoyed and why has your countenance fallen?” (4:6).
We learn that when Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and Cain’s was not, Cain became very upset. The preceding verses implicitly tell us why: God accepted Abel and his offering, and did not accept Cain and his offering. Cain’s anger was aroused because his offering was rejected. The great Reb Chaim of Brisk expresses surprise, therefore, at God’s question. It was clear why Cain was distressed, why did God ask the obvious? The answer is that in truth, God was asking Cain a different question: What is the main reason for your anger? Is it because your sacrifice was not accepted – or because your brother’s sacrifice was accepted? Which hurt you more?
This struck out on me as something we can apply to every day life. To think about, why is that we are jealous of another person, is it because we don’t want them to have what they have? or is it because we actually want what they have? Many times it’s just because we don’t want them to have it. If you think about it, it’s pure silliness. Sometimes we would even cause ourselves harm and limit what we have so that another person shouldn’t have more. So we have to think honestly to ourselves, what is causing the jealousy, and if it’s just that we don’t want the other person to have the fancy house, and don’t even want it for ourselves, then we have to stop thinking that way, and be able to be happy with what we have and not want others to be worse off.
I got an e-mail titled “Everything I need to know, I can learn from Noah's Ark”. I thought it summarized some great lessons that we learn from the פרשה .
One: Don't miss the boat.
Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
Three: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
Four: Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
Five: don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
Six: build your future on high ground.
Seven: for safety's sake, travel in pairs.
Eight: speed isn't always on advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
Nine: when you're stressed float awhile.
Ten: remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the titanic by professionals.
Eleven: no matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.