Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rabbi Smith on Parshat Noach

"ויקרא את שמו נח לאמר זֶה יְנַחֲמֵנוּ מִמַּעֲשֵׂנוּ וּמֵעִצְּבוֹן יָדֵינוּ מִן הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר אֵרֲרָהּ ה'"
"And he called his name Noach, saying: 'This shall comfort us from our work and from the sadness of our hands, from the ground which Hashem has cursed." (Bereishit 5:29)

What was the consolation to the world with the birth of Noach? 
Rashi explains that Noach was a remarkable inventor and one of his inventions was the plow. Until his time, people would plow their fields with their very own hands and the powerful curse that humanity received from Hashem, as a result of the sin of eating from the forbidden tree, was strongly felt. Therefore, when Noach invented the plow, a certain degree of consolation came in to the world, people had more available time, technology advanced humanity.

However, it's not so clear that this new available time at people's disposal was used in a positive fashion. "they saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took wives from whomever they chose" (6:2). From this point on humanity started to deteriorate more and more until it deserved annihilation.
Also today, technology affords us more and more free time, computers and communication nowadays save valuable time. The question is what do we do with all this available time, are people less busy today with "plowing their field?" are the hours of darkness, which were once dedicated to spending quality time with one's family and for rest, filled with even more work and meetings or do we truly keep clear boundaries, so that we don't get swallowed by technology in to times when the creations rose against their creator.

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