A humorous story is told about an individual who was desperate for a space in a crowded parking lot. After mouthing a quick prayer to the Almighty to produce a parking space, one miraculously became available right before his eyes, whereupon he concluded, “OK, G-d, this time I found it on my own. I’ll take a rain check for another time.”
We are blessed with Divine intervention in all of the varied aspects of our lives, but we often fail to see it. Noach was different; he perceived it.
Noach – ish tzadik, a righteous individual – acknowledged the Almighty’s presence and awaited instruction both when entering and exiting the ark. Noach entered the ark after he was told, “Bo atah vechal baisecha el hateivah, come to the ark, you and your household” (7,1); and he exited only after he was so commanded, “Tzei min hateivah, leave the ark” (8,15). Noach resolutely followed both orders.
Indeed, the Midrash teaches us that after the flood subsided and the surface of the ground had dried, Noach’s sons suggested that they leave the ark, but Noach refused, maintaining that just as they entered with Divine permission, so should they exit with permission.
Noach placed his unwavering faith and confidence in G-d both in times of challenge and tranquility. His attitude and actions should motivate us to make the Almighty’s presence a focus in our lives – under all circumstances.
The source of our successes in life should not be misplaced; it should be attributed to its rightful source: Divine intervention. To be sure, effective parenting, for example, goes a long way in raising and nurturing a wholesome family, but ultimately the successes of our children – at home and in school – are nothing less than gifts from Hashem. But parenting is only one domain in our lives. Its application finds itself in every aspect of our lives.
The believing Jew realizes that there are no coincidences in life. And just as a parking space does not become available by chance so it is with everything in life – significant and insignificant events alike. So let’s not take anything for granted, and certainly not our successes, but we can appreciate and celebrate them.
Rabbi Simcha Dessler is menahel / education director of Hebrew Academy of Cleveland in Cleveland Heights.