October 18, 2001
A Portion of Parshat Noah
God gave Noah many instructions on how to build the ark. It took Noah 120 days to build it. The rabbis ask: "Why did it take him so long?" And the answer: "God was giving Noah a chance to talk to his neighbors." The neighbors would come up to Noah and say: "Why are you building this ark?" And Noah was supposed to say: "Because God is sending a flood to destroy all you wicked people." Chances are, many of the wicked people would have repented and been saved. But Noah was too shy to talk to his neighbors. And so, he built his ark, got into it and sailed away, while everyone else drowned.
Has there ever been something you know you could change if you only spoke up? Maybe someone has wrongly accused you or your friend of doing something that you didn't do. Maybe your friend got punished because the cafeteria lady thought he squirted ketchup at her, but really, it was the kid next to him. If you had not been afraid to speak up, your friend wouldn't be staying after school. It's one thing to be responsible for your own good behavior, but sometimes, you have to go out on a limb and help others. So next time you feel you need to change something for the better, stand up straight, make your voice heard, and say what needs to be said.