‘Shooting the messenger’ is a well-known phrase used to describe the act of blaming the bearer of bad news. In war a messenger would be sent from one camp to another, and the receiver might take out their anger on the unlucky envoy upon receiving negative information.

When Noah wanted to see if the flood water had subsided, he sent out a dove to see if she would find a resting place. Had the dove returned with a piece of vegetation this would show Noah that the waters had lowered.

Unsuccessful in her mission, she returned to the ark empty-handed.

Rabbi Berlin points out that the dove did not fly into the ark. She thought that her master would not allow her to come back inside as she was not presenting him with what he wanted to see!

Noah however had compassion and took her into his hand to warm her, "and he put forth his hand and took her, and brought her to him into the ark" (Genesis 8:9).

An important lesson. If we ask someone to do something for us and they are unsuccessful, we should still treat them as if they were successful, not forgetting to express gratitude for the attempt.

We need to see the human behind the actions. Even if our emotions tempt us otherwise, we must always treat people with kindness and compassion.

Shabbat Shalom!

(Ideas adapted from Love Your Neighbour by Zelig Pliskin)