While God gives us the tools that we need to succeed in life, it’s critical to remember the real Source of all blessings!
By Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
This week’s Torah portion is “Noah” (Genesis 6:9-11:32), in which, you guessed it, we read all about Noah, the famous prophet and sailor.
We are told that his parents named him “Noah” because when he was born they said, “This one will comfort [No’ach] us from our toil and from the anguish of our hands…from the soil that God has cursed.” (Gen. 5:28-29). This refers back to the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden when God told Adam that the land would now be cursed as a result of the sin and that food would only grow with difficulty. Noah’s parents, however, correctly prophesized that the birth of their son would lead to a lightening of the curse.
The Midrash tells us how Noah’s parents knew that their son would lighten the curse. We are told that when God cursed Adam and the land following the sin of the forbidden fruit, Adam asked God how long the curse would be in effect. God told him that the curse would last until someone was born circumcised. When this happened, it would be a sign that the curse would lighten.
And so it was. Noah, born ten generations later, was born circumcised and the people rejoiced. (It seems that Adam had let the secret sign out of the bag!)
As a result of the curse, when people would plant wheat they would harvest thorns. Cultivation and agriculture weren’t easy. However, with the birth of Noah things become closer to the way we know them today.
In a further “lightening” of the curse, we are told that Noah invented the plow, the hoe, and many other farming tools making agriculture that much easier! Until this time, people did agricultural work with their hands! Imagine plowing a field with your fingers! Noah indeed brought all kinds of positive changes to the world.
It is noted, however, that as society became more advanced and successful it also became more corrupt and immoral. How sad it was that as sooner as these new advances were invented and implemented, God had to destroy the world due to the evil ways of the people.
We see from here that success, advancement, and prosperity can unfortunately lead to corruption. Indeed, look at our world today. We are so prosperous, so advanced, and yet so many choose to be far from God.
People believe that they are to be credited with their own success and prosperity, but they forget to look upwards to acknowledge the Source from which all of their blessings really come.
For more insights by Rabbi Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below.
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