Shabbat Shalom! I am glad you could all join me on this special day when I begin the process of becoming a Jewish adult. My Torah Portion is Parshat Noach which is from the book of Beraishit. The parsha is about Noach, the flood, and the ark, some ideas caught my attention as I studied this parsha. The first one discusses why G-d decided to destroy the earth specifically with a flood. A beautiful parable answers this; the king was in a jolly mood. He announced to his minister: "I wish to make some unfortunate people happy.
Invite to my palace a group of poor people whom are mute. Treat them royally! Give them the best food and clothe them beautifully." The king's minister invited the poor, mute people and they had a marvelous time. They never dreamt that there were so many pleasurable things in the world. Their gratitude to the king knew no bounds! The unfortunate creatures could not speak, but whenever the king passed, they all rose, bowed and waved their hands, and signed to him how much they appreciated what he did for them. Every morning when they rose, they praised the king with sign language. The king was pleased that they honored him so.
It so pleased him that he summoned his minister and instructed him, "This group of mute people has enjoyed a long and pleasurable stay in my palace. Dismiss them now and invite instead a group of beggars who can speak. They will praise my noble deeds with speeches, not only with gestures, and I will be even more honored." So a group of poor, speaking people was invited to the palace and treated to delights they had never known before. These beggars were so busy enjoying themselves that they forgot about the king to whom they owed their good fortune.
None of them even uttered one word of thanks, and when the king passed, they ignored him. Soon the beggars began to expect their comforts as a matter of course, and demanded pleasures as their rightful due. One day, they decided to take over the palace and depose the king. Enraged, the king called for his minister. "Expel these beggars from my palace," he commanded. "I would do better to invite the mute people again. They were not able to express their gratitude with words, but they honored me as much as they were able.
These speaking people, however, who could bring me so much glory with their power of speech, rebel against me!" The king's order was carried out.
The key to the parable: When Hashem created the world, He filled it with water. The water could not praise Hashem with words, but it roared and rolled its waves noisily, proclaiming, "How mighty is Hashem!" Hashem said, "If even the water sings My praises, how much more so will human beings who can think and speak!" So Hashem removed the waters to the oceans. On dry land He created intelligent human beings.
Instead of praising Hashem, however, these human beings rebelled against Him by committing terrible sins. Instead of using their brains and their power of speech for good things, they plotted evil deeds; they slandered, insulted and wronged one another. All the generations after Adam were equally wicked. Hashem saw their deeds getting worse and worse, and He said, "Let Me get rid of these people, and instead bring back the water that was on the earth originally. The water cannot think or speak, but it praises Me nevertheless, while these people anger Me!"
Therefore, Hashem brought the mabul (flood) and wiped out the wicked people.
The second point that caught my attention is that there are similarities between leaving the ark and becoming a Bat Mitzvah. Everyone on the ark had safety and protection from the flood. My home and my family have been safety and protection for me. But now at my Bat Mitzvah I am slowly "leaving the ark." I am starting to take on responsibilities that will prepare me to go out on my own, just like everyone in the ark had to do after the flood. As of today, I am beginning the process of becoming a Jewish adult.
As you grow, so do your responsibilities. The more homework, projects and deadlines there are, the less time you have to relax!
Responsibilities are even greater for adults. Many people have to work long hours. Sometimes, the rush of responsibilities is as overwhelming as a great flood, because it feels like we are being pulled in so many different directions at once and that can be confusing!
The story of Noah and the Flood contains an important message. How was Noah saved from the Flood? G-d commanded him to enter the ark.J Inside the ark it was safe and calm.
The Torah is the ark of the Jewish people. The Torah contains special instructions from G-d on how we should behave. Whenever a Jew is confused, or has a question about what to do, he or she can turn to the Torah for clear answers. That's why it is so important to study the Torah regularly, and to pay attention to what the Torah is teaching us. With the Torah's guidance, we can meet the challenges that come our way, and do the right thing in a calm and happy manner.
My Hebrew name is Esther Malka This is something we find as well in the story of Purim with Queen Esther, her beauty is referred to as Chein Vachesed, not just a physical beauty but a more spiritual one, we find her turning to the Torah and spirituality in her time of need she asks that the Jews pray and fast for her before going to the king, I plant to emulate her ways and overcome the many floods I may encounter in life by turning to the ark my Jewish heritage and the Torah as a guiding force in my life.
As I grow older I hope I’ll be able to carry on the charitable causes my family have been doing for many years, and I’m lucky to have my great grandma and grandparents here today. I would like to thank my Batmitzvah teacher Dvorki Rivkin who taught me in the US, and of course my wonderful parents for their support and guidance, and you all for listening, Shabbat shalom.