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November 1, 2019
2 Cheshvan 5780

Parashat Noach
Genesis 6:9 - 11:32

Dear Friends,

I could use a drop of optimism right now. So, I have chosen to look at the story of Noah through the eyes of the youngest members of our community. Although the story of Noah is certainly not a children’s story, the animals, the rainbow, and the sense of adventure call us to embark on a different kind of journey. After all, eight human beings and every imaginable animal and its mate were on an ark for close to a year and no one died, or at least there is no record of it.

This how I begin my positive journey. It is possible for those whose very natures put them in opposition to one another to survive in close quarters with one another. And if we look beyond the animals, we have four married couples living in close quarters under trying conditions with no idea how long they would be on the ark and what awaited them if they ever got off the ark.

How did they keep from losing their minds? I recently read about someone who was a political prisoner; his way of coping with his imprisonment was to say that no one could imprison his mind. Clearly when you have to take care of the care and feeding of a boat load of animals you are busy. Could it be that there was a sense of common purpose that allowed them to survive whatever disagreements they may have had over the course of the year? I would like to think so. I would also like to think that each of them discovered their strengths and their unique abilities, so that each could contribute to the well-being of all.

I find great comfort in that thought, but I also realize that it worked because they had a shared goal – survival. When we work in a community with shared values and a shared vision with each one contributing in their own way, we can do more than survive -- we can thrive. It seems to be something that we have forgotten how to do.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Sat, September 19 2020 1 Tishrei 5781