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16/17 Oct: Parsha Noah

Shabbat comes in 5.51 pm ; goes out 6.50 pm
Was Noah an environmentalist? Probably not on purpose. But he was the first to see the world as a closed, integrated system. Noah and his eight-person crew maintained a sort of BioDome inside the ark, struggling to preserve a functional level of ecological balance in the most challenging of situations. Within such a system, every action has a significant impact. If he fed the elephants too much food, then the zebras might not have enough. If he didn’t clean the waste of the animals quickly enough, then disease might break out.
It’s useful to see ourselves in the same situation. Every action, no matter how small, affects the universe. For example, using public transportation in congested areas reduces pollution, while cutting down on frustrating traffic. That leads to better health for the population — and less stress.
The name Noah means “rest”. Overall, Noah’s relationship with the world was harmonious and productive, not adversarial or injurious to the planet or to his own well-being. That’s a lesson to remember.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Paul Arberman
October 15, 2015