Noach’s ark or Titanic?

Friday, 28 October, 2022 - 8:07 am

There are some wise sayings that immediately go into the “cut out and save” drawer in my mind. Here’s one of the best ones: 

“The Titanic was built by professionals; it collided with an iceberg and sank after only four days of being afloat. Noach’s ark was built by amateurs; it lasted for the entire Flood.”

Noach spent 120 years building the ark. For 120 years he faced all the wise and enlightened people of his generation alone as they laughed at him and mocked him. 

The Gemara in Masechet Sanhedrin (108b) tells us that, “The righteous Noach would rebuke them with harsh words, and they would belittle him. They would say to him: ‘Old man, what is this ark for?’ and he would answer: ‘Hashem is going to bring a flood upon you.’”

The truth is, when I think about it, that if someone here in Basel would build an ark and tell me he is preparing for a flood, I don’t think I would belittle him, but I would probably send him for psychiatric testing.

But Noach was not moved by what the world was saying. He had a goal, and he went about achieving it. 

And if the world laughs? Let them laugh!

People think he’s crazy? They can go ahead and think what they like. 

The Creator of the World had given him a task to perform – and he was going to do it, no matter what!

Friends, every one of us has a goal and a mission in life, suited only to him. That goal is the reason he was born and brought into this world. Because if I was not personally needed, I wouldn’t have been born. Hashem trusts us – “Your faithfulness is great,” we say every morning. He believes in us. 

Perhaps we just have to learn from Noach to be focused and goal-oriented; to do what our Creator wants us to do, even if the experts, the wise men and the enlightened sneer at us. Otherwise, there is a chance that our ship will encounter an iceberg, just like the Titanic.

Shabbat Shalom, 

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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