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Parashat Noach

October 8, 2021
2 Cheshvan 5782
Parashat Noach
Genesis 6:9 - 11:32

Dear Friends,

Visions of a world destroyed. Parshat Noah is a dystopian vision, painful to behold. And just this week, we read about a flash flood in Alabama, leaving death in its wake. The floods that overtook the ancient world must have felt like the world was ending. Building a lifeboat for one family and a bunch of animals does not look like the best solution from our vantage point today, even if it is only a story. It does leave us with the question, what is our responsibility when we are aware that the earth is in danger and that our actions can make a difference?

The particular stories of the first book of the Torah focus on individuals and not nations. What a powerful way to teach us about what matters! When we see numbers used to describe the impact of an event, the larger the number the more difficult it is for us to get our heads around it. When we are led through the aftermath of a disaster through the experiences of one individual, our ability to assimilate the impact of that event is enhanced, as with the story of the flood. The story of Noah focuses on one family allowing us to understand that what we do as individuals matters beyond that one family.

By limiting both the number of animals and people, the story is manageable, albeit, still very, very, difficult. Where does that leave us? Our story ends with a rainbow and a promise that the Divine will never destroy the world again. However, we are left with the onus being upon us. It is our job, in large ways and small, to combat climate change as concerted effort fought on many fronts. Climate change has the capacity to impact us in ways we cannot yet foresee. However, if we, in all of our diversity and uniqueness come together like the rainbow, each doing our part, we can make a difference, not only for ourselves but for future generations.

Toward the end of the month, there will be a very local event to support a healthy climate future in the Bronx. It is a Bronx-wide rally for Climate Justice. Join me at Fordham Plaza on October 28th at 5:30pm. We can show up and show our support for The Bronx’s climate future. It is a small step but an important one. Let us be part of the solution.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Sun, October 17 2021 11 Cheshvan 5782