It didn’t even occur to Noach to pray! Until Abraham no one even thought of the idea.
Last week I decided that I wanted to pray at the burial place of Rebbe Yehudah HaNasi.
Rebbe Yehudah was the author of the Mishna and one of the greatest and bravest rabbinic leaders of all times. He is buried in Tzipori, in the Galil, where he went to live toward the end of his life in order to benefit from the high altitude climate and crisp healthy air.
Of course I got lost and ended up driving into a small Moshav called Mizpe Hoshaya. Hoshaya is a beautiful, tree-lined, very friendly religious settlement. The houses were designed and laid out very tastefully and the atmosphere was relaxing and calm. It seemed so isolated from the stressful war torn world outside it.
We drove over to the central office building to get directions to Tzipori. I glanced at the bulletin board on the outside wall and reality quickly set in. On the bulletin board was a sign announcing the funeral of Staff Sergeant Gilad Fisher, 11:00 A.M. Friday at the Hoshaya cemetery. Fisher, 22, had already caught my attention and the attention of the whole country when he lost his life last week in an attack on an IDF observation post located in the northern Gaza Strip. When I read the news I couldn’t help but notice the youthful angelic smile of this very young man and the Kippa perched on his head. For a second, I thought about his parents, his grandparents and his friends.
But standing in the place where he grew up, reading a hand written invitation from his parents to attend their son’s funeral made it all very real. Here I was searching for a hero of 2000 years ago and I stumbled upon a hero of last week.
There is so much to do to help bring peace and security to Israel and the whole world. We can fight, we can contribute money, we can study Torah, and we can volunteer. It occurred to me that we are not all in a position to do these things but there is something we can all do that would be very effective. We can pray! Prayer really works.
I was thinking about Noach. Perhaps he is not given the credit he deserves. We tend to see him as someone who was able to save himself but couldn’t make a contribution to the world around him. When he walked into a new world he began by getting drunk. At least according to one opinion if Noach would have lived at the same time as Abraham he wouldn’t have even been noticed.
Yet there is much positive about Noach. Noach withstood the challenges of his time. He didn’t go with the flow (no pun intended). He saved himself and his family from the greatest corruption in history. He spent centuries building a boat in order to capture the interest of the world; perhaps they would reconsider their ways and decide on a path of honesty, integrity and G-dliness. Noach blessed his sons Shem, Cham and Yefet and with his blessings civilization was formed and the world as we know it was created. The Torah says, “Noach Ish Tzadik”!
Tragically, there was one simple spiritual tool Noach failed to utilize. He didn’t pray! Like many of us today Noach did not recognize the mighty power of prayer.
It didn’t even occur to Noach to pray! Until Abraham no one even thought of the idea. (Reb Tzadok in Pri Tzadik VaYere;5)
When Abraham was told about the imminent destruction of Sodom he prayed. This was no small feat. His prayers saved his nephew Lot. Moav, Ruth, King David and ultimately the Moshiach are from the lineage of Lot.
If Noach would have prayed who knows what might have happened? He may have become even greater than Abraham.
Let me suggest that whatever else we can or can’t do let every day contain a little Tefilah that there should be peace in Israel and peace in the world.