Sunday, October 14, 2012


The Last Lion (8:18)

Who is responsible for Noach walking in to the ark and limping out? Was it the lion or Noach himself?


The Last Lion (8:18)

It’s a wonderful Midrash; fanciful, interesting, insightful and relevant.  Noach briskly walks in to the ark at the outset of the Great Flood and one year later he slowly limps out.  The reason for the change is that one day Noach was late in delivering lunch.  The lion, not appreciating the fact, took a swipe at his benefactor and hence the unsightly disfigurement.

A question that has been raised in regard to this Midrash is why should G-d, who thrust this enormous responsibility upon Noach, have allowed this mishap to occur?  Imagine trying to feed every animal the exact type of food they require, day in and day out.  And then figure, Noach was late one afternoon.  What’s the big deal?

The truth is that had there been other lions, this faux-pax would have been deemed inconsequential.  However, because this was the last lion in the world, what affected this particular animal would impact the entire species.  If this lion died, there would have been no more lions- ever!  That being the scenario, we can now understand why Noach was held so accountable.

A very powerful lesson can be gleaned from this episode.  Each and every child in our care is the last link in the chain that connects their generation of Jewish children back to Sinai.  If we do not save this young boy or girl, it is not just a question of what will happen to this individual youngster, but rather will there be another Jewish generation from this family ever again? 

This is not only a concern that each Mom and Dad must deal with at home, but an issue that the united Jewish community must address. One response, also borrowed from the story of Noach, is the building of an Ark. Our youngsters are constantly bombarded by the treacherous waters of apathy, ignorance and false information. Our job is to build a Teiva, (Hebrew word for Ark). This refuge and sanctuary will not only protect them while they are young, but carry them to a better world filled with rainbows of color and promise.  

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