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Being counted among the righteous

10/10/2018 02:39:40 PM


Cantor Peter Halpern

Last week in Bereshit, Adam and Eve’s first child, Cain, kills his brother Abel, who alone finds favor in the sight of God. The next chapter is genealogy, tracing the generations between the first murder, by Cain, and the virtual destruction of the world as it was.
This Shabbat’s parasha, Noach, opens with the words “Noach was a righteous man; he was blameless among those of his generation” (Genesis 6:9). Whether he was completely honorable or blameless in comparison to others at the time is a topic of debate, but let’s take it at face value for a moment.
Remember the song “Rise and Shine”? “The Lord told Noah there’s gonna be a floody, floody” (which would wash away the world). Fortunately, God also told him to build an arky, arky. God saw the evil that was happening and wanted to save, in addition to the animals, the one person God deemed worthy of building a new society.
How can we live a life righteous enough for God to consider us worthy? The prophet Micah answered this question “Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly before God.”
It sounds and may be simple, but it is not easy. We are faced with countless decisions every day. Some are very subtle, and others are strikingly clear. Most fall somewhere in between. I believe it starts with the intention to follow Micah’s words. If we do this personal preparation as the day begins, we have a chance to be the master of our thoughts and reactions. Then, the challenges of every day present themselves, and we can hopefully realize our intention. We won’t always succeed, and we will need to accept our humanity and try again. There is a great aid.
As stated in Pirkei Avot “One good deed leads to another.” Right choices often follow right choices. May we individually and as a community organize our lives and summon the strength to act in such a way that we too may be counted among the righteous.

Wed, June 19 2019 16 Sivan 5779