Abandon Ship


Our advanced civilization has aptly been described as the disposable society. This is prominently manifest in ‎the plethora of items designed for one time use. Undoubtedly, this has provided an immeasurable benefit ‎in the realms of hygienic food production and sanitary medical supplies. Many harmful diseases have been ‎limited by the introduction of disposable gloves and needles. Likewise scores of viruses have been ‎restricted by the use of plastic cutlery and foil pans. ‎

Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not constrained to the physical but has spread to other aspects of ‎humanity. A “throw-away” culture dominates further dimensions of our lives. For example, when a ‎relationship starts to falter and parties start to drift, there is a tendency to flee the situation by dumping ‎the other partner. Rather than face up to their differences and try to work things out, they treat their loved ‎one like a “used disposable barbecue” which is vehemently discarded when slightly sullied. ‎

This is regrettable. A permanent scar is created. Where there were feelings of love, there are now feelings ‎of hate. Additionally, their emotional development has been curtailed, as a relationship can actually grow ‎from the arguments and discord, eventually forming a deeper and stronger bond. ‎

On the other hand there are people who take the opposing model to the extreme. They cannot bear to ‎throw out or part with anything. With a pack-rat mentality they store useless items and struggle to cope ‎with the growing clutter. They expend more money and energy in washing plastic cups, than it would take ‎to procure a new pack. Even within valued business and emotional relationships there are occasions when ‎the correct thing to do is to part company.‎

In reality a balance needs to be struck between knowing when it is appropriate to discard and when ‎something needs to be saved. There are instances when every effort has to be exerted to defend and ‎preserve. Nothing stands starker than Hashem’s treatment of Noach’s generation. The world was brutally ‎decadent. Humanity had reached its nadir. It was time for a fresh start. Yet Hashem did not send Noach to ‎Heaven and obliterate the universe, even though this might seem like the most logical solution. The world ‎was defunct, Noach was a righteous man, let us give him his due reward, destroy Earth and create a ‎replacement. But Hashem chose to keep the world, even employing miraculous wonders of the Ark – ‎which have never been duplicated – to ensure the survival of the planet. ‎

This has developed an advantage for us humans living today. New lessons can be learned which were ‎unavailable before the Flood and we are empowered by this epic occurrence. Firstly, we are more keenly ‎aware of Hashem’s involvement in the affairs of man, punishing the wicked and saving the righteous. ‎Secondly, we have evidence of His deep love in sustaining humankind, even if means resorting to the ‎supernatural. G-d is willing to use extreme measures to ensure the continuity of civilization. ‎

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