Vort on Parshas Noach
מן הבהמה הטהורה ומן הבהמה אשר איננו טהרה (נח ז: ח)
The Rambam tells us on this pasuk that the non-kosher animals walked up to the teivah alone. Noach didn’t have to go searching for them. However, Noach had to search for the kosher animals he intended to sacrifice after the mabul.
Ramban writes, “The non-kosher animals who came to be saved came on their own. But Noach had to make the effort to bring the kosher animals to be used for a korban because they were for a mitzvah.” It is proper to toil when it comes to avodas Hashem, and this toil satisfies Hashem.
After an uplifting and spiritual Yom Kippur with the Sar Shalom of Belz, zt’l, his chassidim from Russia, asked him, “How can we return to the freezing Russian winter?” They were referring to the spiritual coldness of their hometown, so distant from the spiritual warmth they experienced in Belz.
“Have you heard of the wise men of Chelm?” the Rebbe asked.
“Well, the people of Chelm were also seeking a way to remain warm during the long winter nights. Chelm was warm during the daytime when the sun shone, but it was unbearably cold at night. The people of the Chelm gathered at the home of their wise leader and asked him what they might do to keep warm at night. The wise scholar said, “Every night, the sun sets in the west. So you should place large, deep barrels, in the ground, near where the sun sets. The barrels will catch the sun, and you will be able to have the sun during the nighttime.’
The people of Chelm rejoiced with the wise counsel and placed large barrels near where the sun set. Later that night, the people of Chelm went to the barrels to find the sun, but the barrels were filled with snow and ice. They quickly returned to their scholar and told him what had happened. The wise man explained that since the sun goes down at night, the sun is deep inside the barrels. “If you will take hammers, sticks, and shovels to break the ice and remove all the snow, you’ll find the sun inside.” They worked hard to break the ice, and they began to sweat and feel warm as they worked. Their sage’s advice was sound. They found a way to remain warm at night.
The Sar Shalom explained, “This story teaches us that hard work keeps you warm.” The chassidim understood: if they worked hard in their avodas Hashem, they would remain spiritually warm in distant Russia.Go back to Parshas Noach