The Torah tells us that Noah was a righteous man “in his generation.” That in spite of the wickedness that prevailed in the world, Noah possessed the strength of character to stand courageously apart.
We read the story each year and we question: was there really a Noah and is there “truth” in his story?” To me we are all as “Noah” at different times in our lives. We are all repeatedly challenged in determining just how far we are prepared to go in standing up for our values and ideals. No, not only teenagers face great peer pressure to conform so that they might be liked and accepted; we all face such pressures.
I don’t know if there really was a historic Noah. But I do know that our Jewish tradition has always affirmed the great virtue of the moral courage that it often takes to stand apart from the masses.
The Torah commands: “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil.”
Our rabbinic sages declared: “In a place where no one behaves as befits a human being, you must nevertheless strive to be human.”
Yes, as the wise man observes: “What we have learned from history is that if a person does not strive to be something more than human, he often ends up less than human.”
I wish you Shabbat Shalom, and hope that you will join us this evening for a service filled with joyous music as we celebrate “Friday Night Live.”