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This is Noach's lesson: He too couldn't save the whole world. He too could not dedicate the totality of his brain, the fullness of his heart, and the entirety of his pocket to embrace and impact all that he wanted. So he constructed an ark to preserve that which he could. And, at the end of the day, that ark, those minuscule efforts, eventually rebuilt our world.

Rabbi Allouche

“But, Rabbi, I just don’t have the time!”

If there was a list of the most used excuses, this one would surely be at the top of the list. 

I understand the logic. I can even sympathize with the reasoning. After all, life’s responsibilities fill our every day. There’s always so much to do. If we’re not overly immersed in our jobs and worrying over our bills, there’s always a garbage bag to take out, a dish to clean, and a broken car to repair.

Noah, our portion’s hero, was faced with similar challenges. The world around him was collapsing. Merciless storms were about to flood our planet and drown humanity. But Noah responded decisively: he built a huge ark that would hold and preserve small fractions of human and animal life. For twelve months, all of humanity was concentrated within that Ark, and when the flood ended, those few survivors came out of their ark and rebuilt our world.

We, too, are faced with “floods” that threaten to destroy all that is alive in our personal world. But we, too, can respond by constructing “arks” to hold and preserve the fractions of life that are important and precious to us. 

Nonetheless, at times, our effort seems pointless. Of a mind consumed by jobs, only a small amount of brainpower is left for a few minutes of Torah study. Of a heart agitated by anxieties, only a small corner is reserved for pure emotions of love and kindness. Of a pocket filled with bills and expenses, only a small percentage is left for tzedakah.

Yet, this is Noach’s lesson: He too couldn’t save the whole world. He too could not dedicate the totality of his brain, the fullness of his heart, and the entirety of his pocket to embrace and impact all that he wanted. So he constructed an ark to preserve that which he could. And, at the end of the day, that ark, those minuscule efforts, eventually rebuilt our world.

So, if you “don’t have the time,” that’s just fine. G-d, and our beloved Congregation Beth Tefillah, will take your “small arks”, your few minutes dedicated to a good cause, your pennies donated to charity, and your single Mitzvah performed to better your life and brighten our globe. 

Who knows? Those small arks may also eventually save our world and bring about its ultimate redemption. May it happen speedily. Amen.