This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
Dealing with the Flood of Life
Do you ever think to yourself: “I’m drowning! I’m swamped with life’s demands!”
Whether it’s slaving away at our jobs, sinking into the insurmountable pile of our bills or worrying about the hundreds of big and little things that challenge us, how can we stay afloat? When life comes rushing at us -- leaving us with a never-ending “To Do” list, and making us feel confused and overwhelmed -- how can we cope?
In this week’s Torah portion, we read about the great flood. The Hebrew word for flood, mabul, also means disorder and confusion. In a world full of disorder, our priorities can become skewed and distorted.
How did Noah handle the overwhelming floodwaters?
The Four Mysteries of King Solomon
Three things are wondrous to me, and four I do not know.
Despite all the wisdom granted to [King] Solomon . . . he was mystified by the Four Kinds. As it is written: “Three things are wondrous to me” -- these are the Passover offering, matzah and maror [eaten at the Passover seder]; “and four I do not know” -- these are the Four Kinds [taken on Sukkot].
On Sukkot, the Torah commands us to take the “Four Kinds” -- the etrog (citron), lulav (an unopened frond of a date palm), hadas (myrtle twig) and aravah (willow twig).
This week's Torah reading starts with the statement "Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; may the earth hear the words of my mouth."
Two different Hebrew words are used for what, at first glance, is the same idea. Regarding the heavens, the verse says ha'azinu, literally "give ear" -- pay heed, listen up, take note, etc. Regarding the earth, the verse uses the word v'tishma, meaning "it shall hear." The commentators mention that this difference is based on the different "customers." When it comes to the heavens (from whom our expectations are naturally higher) a harsher tone is used; whereas regarding the more vulnerable earth the somewhat softer "it shall hear" is used.