Our view of the Galile

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just Like Abba - Noach 5772

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

"Your friend in Karmiel"
October 28th 2011 -Volume 2, Issue 1–30th of Tishrei 5772
Parshat Noach
Just like Abba

I sat there watching him, welcoming the distraction from my studying for my test on Roman Archeology (did you know that that the lower half of the roof of a Roman temple was called a frieze  and was decorated with eggs and spears…do you care?). He sat there,  my little almost two year old – Tully, and was playing quietly with his toy kitchen. He put out a toy loaf of bread. He then had a plate he put out and his little play goblet. It looked like he was setting a dinner table. But then he went upstairs and came down with his blanket. Hmmmm… He then so gently placed the blanket over the bread picked up the goblet and started babbling. Yes, he was making Kiddush. Just like Abba. If I had any doubts he took off the “challah cover” blanket (which sometimes doubles as his tallit) and pulled out his play knife from under his plate and proceeded to try to cut the “challah”, just like Abba. Babbling once again. He was obviously trying to make the hamotzi blessing, just like Abba, It was a special moment for me as my heart swelled with pride at my obviously brilliant son who I was raising and inspiring so perfectly. And then he looked at me and smiled… and threw the cup at my head and overturned the entire table.. It’s terrible the types of behavior they pick up in Gan isn’t it? He certainly didn’t learn that from Abba. I hope.

Its funny how those things work, isn’t it? All the great things about our children are obviously from our side of the family, or our great parenting skills. The not so great stuff? Their friends, the school, the neighbors they’re hanging around with. Yet we know that much more than we can ever imagine kids are sponges. And more than anything else, what they see in the home ultimately will form their perspectives, reactions, attitudes and even relationships as they grow into adults. Just like Abba.  The good, the bad and the ugly. This is one of the first lessons in the Torah and it goes back to the beginning of the world.

Last week we began the Torah once again as we read about the Creation and start of Mankind with the Story of Adam, the first man created. The Torah tells us that Adam was made in his perfect state in the image of God- just like Abba. However that perfect world was very quickly shattered with the first sin of eating from the forbidden fruit. Perhaps even just as bad and maybe even worse was when confronted with his sin Adam “passes the buck” and begins what from that point on becomes the age-old excuse- it wasn’t me it was my______ fill in the blank. Hashem then punishes Adam and curses the earth from which he came. The same earth which he was meant to elevate and bring closer to God, to create a home and a world that would mirror his Abba’s home up in heaven., was now tainted  and defiled and would serve to remind him of the imperfect world he had left in its place. 

The Torah than continues and tells us the next tragic story of Adam’s son Kayin- so named as Eve says- “for I have acquired (Kanisi) a man with God”; once again a man in the image of His Creator, another chance at rebuilding the world. Yet Kayin as well chooses  to “work (or serve)” the cursed earth; leading to his sin of  bringing  a sacrifice that  was not up to standard, which leads to jealousy over his brothers sacrifice and ultimately to the first murder of the world. And once again when Kayin is confronted with his sin he attempts to abdicate his responsibility with the old “Am I my brothers keeper” excuse. Sadly he misses the opportunity to come forward with his sin. Just like his father. And once again the once perfect earth become even more, cursed crying out with the blood of Abel to be restored.

And the story continues and the cycle worsens, until eventually Hashem has to wipe the slate clean and start with a new world; The world of Noach. This weeks Parsha contains the excitement once again of a new fresh world. Noach gets blessed to be fruitful and multiply just like his ancestor Adam. Even more fascinating is that he engages in the same first act of Hashem after creating the world. As the Torah tells us last week, Hashem  plants a garden (of Eden), and this week Noach in his first act 
Vachel Noach  Ish Ha’adama Vatitah Kerem- And Noach the man of the earth begins  and he plants a vineyard.
Just like Abba. Yet which Abba? Although one might say he was imitating Hashem The Talmud sees in his new title Ish Ha’adama- The man of the earth a rebuke.

“Why did you not learn from your father Adam and his sin and its consequence? When he drank wine he brought tragedy to the world (according to the opinion that the tree that Adam ate from was a grape vine)”.

 He planted perhaps like his Father in heaven, yet when he sat down to his first Shabbat meal and set the table and made Kiddush on his wine just like Abba, he imbibed too much, and like Tully’s once perfect Shabbat  table, in his drunken stupor he ruined it, and with it the world; by becoming a man defined by the earth, rather then the one who was meant to elevate it. Sadly, Noach too, after awakening, takes his wrath and disappointment out on Ham his own son and his descendants, who defiled Noach in his sleep, by becoming the first and only person in the Torah to curse in such a harsh tone (interestingly enough utilizing the same term of Arur-cursed just as Hashem did after the sin of Adam.). Rather than the self reflection on how far he had fallen, the once Ish Tzadik-righteous man was now as his ancestors an Ish Adama.

This Shabbat we welcome in the new month of Cheshvon. It is the first month after the holiday season of the new year when we enter the long darker winter months. After having spent the last month with our Father our King on Rosh Hashana, our Father  the merciful and forgiving judge on Yom Kippur and our Father who we put our faith in and who we rejoiced with on Sukkot and Simchat Torah, the challenge that remains for us is not to lose sight of our Abba. It can be so easy to very quickly become the Ish Adama who lets the world, our environment and our negative influences and surroundings define us once again. It is the battle that goes on since the beginning of time. Yet if we hold with us the memories of these special days and we recall the consequences of losing our special connection, than as the moon starts fresh and shines each month on a new world and a new chance of redemption, so too may we merit to bring and elevate the world to the state of perfection that Abba deserves.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
Gan Guru- - Located in the Beit Shean valley not far from the Kinneret lays an Australian wonderland called Gan Guru. An absolutely fantastic park. Where Kangaroos frolic and you can feed and play with  them. The Birdd house has all types of exoctic birds who would  love to eat some apples provided for you to feed them by the keepers. And you can certainly feel free to enjoy the  petting zoo and the Koala bears as well. If you ever wanted your children to feel like Noach who fed the animals in the Ark during the flood this is certainly the place where they can come to and  bring out their inner Ark…

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