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69http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2011/10/Rabbi-Lyon%27s-Blog---10_28_2011
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 10_28_2011
10/28/2011 08:28 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
October 28, 2011

 

                The story of Noah is familiar to us. We began reading it as children. It was then that we learned how God saved all the creatures from a destructive flood after concluding that the world was a rotten place. And, later God promised never to destroy the earth again by flood. The sign of that promise was the rainbow. Today, we’re still in awe of the beautiful colors that stretch over the earth on a sunny day after a rain shower.

                A remarkable thing about Torah is how succinctly it said God would not destroy the world by flood waters ever again. That’s a comfort. But, God only made the promise about water. What about the means God gave us to destroy the earth by our own devices? We’re so smart we’ve brought about an age of nuclear weapons, world hunger, and global warming, all by ourselves.

                Like God, in our own way we can promise not to destroy the earth again, too. Torah is rife with teachings on how to tend to the earth and its people with greater compassion. We’ve been taught to “make peace where there is strife,” how to “feed the hungry and clothe the naked,” and how to let the land rest after years of cultivation. In some measure, we are succeeding in making a positive difference that contributes to our well-being on earth. We do participate in peace-building programs. We do contribute food and clothing to those who are in need. And, we do take a vacation to restore ourselves. We’re being “green” in many ways; and, yet, an honest person would admit that there is more to do.

                God’s rainbow that is set over the earth, even if it can be explained scientifically, is a marvelous symbol of God’s promise to us. Now, it’s time to send signs of our own to express our promises to God. Our signs come in the form of our deeds, and they aren’t only symbolic.

                Houston is a model community for interfaith activities. I recommend that you peruse our website (www.beth-israel.org) to participate in Beth Israel’s Tikkun Olam (repair the world) activities, volunteer programs, and eco-friendly events; contribute to the Houston Food Bank; or the Good Works Fund at Beth Israel, which supports Braes Interfaith Ministries Food Pantry, and other community based social service agencies. The amount of hunger and need among us has grown steadily in the last two years, alone. And, everyone has something to give. Even if it’s a little, it’s more than what many have for themselves and their children, today.

                We can be partners with God to achieve sacred ideals. Wouldn’t you agree that we can realize God’s “cosmic design” through active personal participation in “Tikkun Olam”?  Besides being a core Jewish value, it’s a demonstration of our personal power to use our technological and industrial advances to inspire and affect a larger good beyond our selves.

                In our drought conditions, it’s highly unlikely that we’re in danger of a Biblical style flood, but it’s highly likely that we can serve as partners in “Tikkun Olam,” by being good stewards of the earth that has been entrusted to us for the sake of all its inhabitants. Ask yourself, what sign can you send God to demonstrate that you are committed to making a difference in the world around you?

                From my family to yours, Shabbat Shalom.

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