Lessons from Noah, that guy on the ship

Far from being detached, the root of any tree constantly provides nourishment for the tree as it grows far above. The constantly inform the tree and support it. When reading Noah this week, I was tapping into the ancient roots of our people, and found issues very much at the forefront of our consciousness: Global climate change, moral relativism, information security and identity theft, privacy, preservation of bio-diversity and the problem of communication, just to name a few.

Our actions and those of our country have far reaching effects on the world we live in. Noah’s generation saw that up close, as their drowned in a flood of their own making. Noah teaches the importance of preserving animals and other species before they are extinguished by our careless destruction of nature. Save the species, the bio-diversity. Noah didn’t just save animals that had a “use” but many species that humans have no use for.

Its not that Noah is a tree-hugging, granola chomping, vegi eating hippie. No, Noah ate meat, with God’s permission, he loved to drink and have a good time. He used the earth for his own pleasure and benefit. But Noah knew that life, nature, and the planet, are gifts that need stewardship, not exploitation and destruction.

Shabbat Shalom

Please join me for—Just For A Day

jfadPlease join me, Rabbi Yonah, and 1000+ of my best friends in an amazing day to help heal the world, put together by Hillel, Jdub, UJC, AEPi, and many other groups.

JUST FOR A Day – Los Angeles is the first ever mass social action project created by Hillel. It all goes down on Nov. 12. Remember that day, and register right now! There are limited spaces.

Did you hear? More than 1,000 students who will take to the streets and beaches of Los Angeles on November 12 when Hillel launches JUST for a Day, a one-day social-justice blitz that will make a difference in lives of Angelinos.

Buses will pick up and drop off on campus. For information on buses, times, and meeting places on campus, please contact your local Hillel or me, Rabbi Yonah.

Meet students from all over the west coast, volunteer your time and learn about the issues affecting LA. Organizations with volunteer opportunities include:

P.A.T.H. (People Assisting the Homeless)
Heal the Bay
Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
Midnight Mission
Venice Family Clinic
Beit T’shuvah
Downtown Women’s Center
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

And after all is said and done…

GUSTER and the LeeVees will perform a closed show for all JUST for a Day participants at the Henry Fonda Theatre in LA!!

So what on earth are you waiting for? Please go and register and tell them Rabbi Yonah sent you. Its a mitzvah!


Reb Shlomo teaching for Sukkot

Reb Nachum owned the Baal Shem Tov’s tfilin. His wife begged him to sell them to ease their poverty as they were valued at several thousand rubles. He always refused her saying he cherished his Rebbe’s tfilin. One year, before Succos, he could not afford an esrog, so he sold the tfilin for two thousand rubles and bought the most beautiful esrog.

He came home to his wife with great joy telling her nobody else had one. She fell into a rage and said, “We have, neither clothes, nor food for Yom Tov. I have been begging you for years to sell the tefilin so we can five comfortably for a while, and now you’ve sold them to bring yourself joy for one week.” She grabbed the esrog, threw it down and smashed it.

Can you imagine the great remorse she felt? Can you imagine the great anger her husband might have felt?

But Reb Nachum’s response was to tell his wife, “There was a time when we owned the Baal Shem Tov’s tfilin, but we no longer do. There was a time when we owned a beautiful esrog, but we no longer do. All we have now is ourselves. So let us be happy and celebrate the joy of Yom Tov.”

(According to another version, this story is not of Reb Nachum
Chernobler but of Rav Michale Zlotchiver.)

Reb Shlomo heard this story from the Bobover [Rebbe OBM] who called it the highest Chassidic story in the world.  Original posting here Read more


The Gospel of Green

cizikImportant moral issues can make strange alliances. An article in todays LA Times highlights the mission of Green Evangelists to spread the Gospel of Green—That God’s world needs care and protection. Amen. Imagine — Rabbi Yonah and the most powerful Evangelical lobbiest have more in common that our love for Israel.

IN Hollywood, the white knight in the fight against global warming is Al Gore, whose film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was received with great media hoopla when it arrived in theaters earlier this year. But in much of the rest of America, the man spearheading the battle against catastrophic climate change is someone you’d never see at the Ivy, hobnobbing with the Bush-hating, abortion-allowing, carbon footprint calculating nabobs of Hollywood elitism.

Going against the grain, and taking on many even in his own community, Rev. Richard Cizik of the National Assn. of Evangelicals, America’s most influential Christian lobbying group, representing 45,000 churches and roughly 30 million believers across the country, believes that the world better do something FAST about Global Warming.

So see the film A Great Warming, and see if that has more of an effect that Al Gore’s attempt to raise the public’s concern that we are roasting ourselves.  It features lots of Green Theists. (Any green Rabbis???)

He also thinks that “there won’t be a Republican running for the White House in ’08 who isn’t with us on this issue.” And that will be a huge revolution.