A BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO A WORLD IN CRISIS
The Chassidic masters understand the saying “live with the times” as an instruction to take a lesson from the weekly Torah reading and apply it to our lives.
This Shabbat, we read in the portion of Noah that “the world became corrupt before God and the earth was full of Hamas [חמס–violence]” (Genesis 6:11). The abyss mankind had descended into was so evil God “regretting” having created man.
Rather than eradicate the world, God chose to cover the world with flood waters to purify the world like a mikvah [ritual bath]. Interestingly, the flood lasted 40 days, and a mikvah must contain a minimum of 40 “seah” [120 gallons] of water.
After the flood, God promised never to bring worldwide destruction again. God placed a rainbow, with its seven distinct colors, in the heavens as a sign of His promise to mankind. The seven colors of the rainbow represent the seven moral laws of conduct God requires of all humanity.
Known as the Noahide covenant, every human is obligated to follow the seven laws. Founded on a belief in God and the Torah, the laws are 1) to not practice idolatry, 2) to not blaspheme God, 3) to not murder, 4) to not steal, 5) to not practice immorality, 6) to establish courts of justice, and finally, 7) to not to be cruel to animals.
We can apply this lesson by accepting the responsibility to live a moral life, perfect the world, and rid the world of evil and Hamas. The choice is between life and goodness or the cult of death and evil. The Torah is clear and instructs us “to choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19) and to “turn from evil and do good” (Psalms 34:14).
In response to the horrific events in Israel and the threat to world Jewry we must increase acts of kindness because, as our sages teach, “a little light dispels a lot of darkness.” We must also fervently pray for peace and the fulfillment of God’s promise to “remove evil from the land” (Proverbs 2:22).
Then the world will no longer be “filled with Hamas” but rather, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God” (Habakkuk 2:14), and God “will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid” (Leviticus 26:6).
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz
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