Support, survive, secure

  • Parsha Generic
The event of the great deluge that convulsed the world in the story of Noah is replete with powerful messages that are core to life. It is a story of one man’s defiance against a corrupt world; a longsuffering G-d who patiently awaits a reversal of man’s conduct. Noah is ascribed the title of righteousness and is rewarded with a salvation for his devotion.
by Rav Ilan Herrmann | Oct 22, 2014
Doornfontein Hebrew Congregation

But one area that Noah fell short on was his reaching out to mankind. He was promised an exit ticket to safety from the flood but he didn’t do enough to help others to find a way out. So the story of Noah also conveys a vital lesson in our duty to extend a helping hand to our fellow man.

The flood represents on a deeper level the torrential hardships of making a living. In this context while one may have by G-d’s grace been afforded the opportunity of being “above water” being “comfortable”, safely in the floating ark, the responsibility to assist another in finding his or her safety in the ark above the drowning currents of life, is prescribed and mandated by the Torah, by G-d!

For so many the extraordinary umbrella group of the Chevrah Kaddisha is an ark of safety.

But to turn our attention to a sometimes overlooked injunction that should be upheld and emphasised during these difficult times: That is - it is a mitzvah to prioritise by giving one’s business to a fellow-Jew and thus help support a member of the community.

Of course there are clauses to this such as that the service has to match the alternative; the cost and quality must compete and some others. But all things equal, the business opportunity must be afforded to one’s fellow-Jew.

In two recent conversations with businessmen, the lament went something like this: “I contribute and support community in many ways but I find the business seems to go elsewhere.”

Often an investment into Jewish business translates into an internal cycle of financial circulation benefiting others within the community.

We are all aware that the wheel of fortune can sometimes be kind while at other times...

The story is told that a miser was decreed from Heaven to lose his fortune after he had summarily ejected a beggar from his extravagant party. Now a beggar himself, he was informed by a seer that his fortune had been bequeathed to the very beggar he had insulted those years back.

He was also told that the only way to regain his fortune was to have that now affluent person eject him from his abode and a repeat reversal of fortune would again take place.

Dressed in rags, bathed in dirt and with a stench that reeked of impurities, the beggar gatecrashed a party of the now wealthy man. His uncouth behaviour and attempts to get himself thrown out by the host failed, for the host remembered how he himself had been at the bottom of the barrel not that long ago.

When the beggar confessed his guile and told him the story, the wealthy host empathised and decided to support the man to his last day.

Every act helping an individual or family from the furious flood of life and offered room in the ark, is surely of the greatest of the mitzvoth in the Torah. It is also a sure-fire way to encourage G-d to preserve and increase one’s material blessing.

A simple start can be by giving that Jewish business the opportunity to quote you the next time you make a call.


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