GOOD MORNING!   Here is the result of the big drawing for the Polaroid PDC 620 Digital Camera -- my six year old, Mindy, pulled an envelope out of the shopping bag belonging to ... Alfred Finkelstein in Miami! Mazal tov to Alfred, my thanks to you, my beloved readers and supporters, and my special thanks and appreciation to the Friends of the Fax Committee!

When I was a child, my little brother, Ronny, asked my father to read a report he had written for school. Upon reading the essay, my father asked him, "Did you copy any of this from the encyclopedia? My brother was incredulous and asked my Dad, "How did you know?" My father held back his smile and said, "Here is what gives it away ... where you write at the end in parentheses 'See also: circus, cowboys, rodeo.' " The following piece is not from the encyclopedia, it came anonymously via the Internet many months ago. I edited it a bit and saved it for this week. If you want to send me your own lessons that you learn from Noah's Ark, I'll save them for next year!


  • Don't miss the boat.
  • Build on high ground.
  • If you can't fight or flee---float!!
  • Two heads are better than one.
  • For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
  • Stay below deck during the storm.
  • Don't forget that we're all in the same boat.
  • Don't listen to critics - do what has to be done.
  • If you have to start over, have a friend by your side.
  • Plan ahead ... It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
  • Take care of your animals as if they were the last ones on earth.
  • When things get really deep, don't sit there and complain--shovel!!!
  • Remember the woodpeckers.  An inside threat is often bigger than the one outside.
  • Speed isn't always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board but ... so were the snails.
  • Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big.

Since I have a little room, here is a game my kids and I made up that you can play with your kids or friends:

Think of a profession and ask what that person would name his child. For instance, "What did the Computer Engineer name his son?" Answer: "Chip."  Or:  "What did the fireman name his daughter?" Answer:  "Ashley."  Send me your best ones and perhaps I'll put them in a future edition!

Torah Portion of the Week

The story of one righteous man in an evil generation. The Almighty commands Noah to build the ark on a hill far from the water. He built it over a period of 120 years. People deride Noah and ask him, "Why are you building a boat on a hill?" Noah explains that there will be a flood if people do not correct their ways (according to the comedian Bill Cosby, Noah would ask "How well can you tread water?"). We see from this the patience of the Almighty for people to correct their ways and the genius of arousing people's curiosity so that they will ask a question and hopefully hear the answer.

The generation does not do Teshuva, returning from their evil ways, and God brings a flood for 40 days. The water covers the earth for 150 days. The Almighty makes a covenant and makes the rainbow the sign of the covenant that He will never destroy all of life again by water (hence, James Baldwin's book, The Fire Next Time). When one sees a rainbow it is an omen to do Teshuva -- to recognize the mistakes you are making in life, regret them, correct them/make restitution, and ask for forgiveness from anyone you have wronged as well as from the Almighty.

Noah plants a vineyard, gets drunk and then occurs the mysterious incident in the tent after which Noah curses his grandson Canaan. The Torah portion concludes with the story of the Tower of Babel and then a genealogy from Shem to Abram.


Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Tower of Babel was built as an effort to show that there is no God. They would build it high into the heavens and show that He was not there. This was not "pleasing in the eyes of God." The Torah states, "And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower (of Babel) which the children of man built." (Genesis 11:5) Why does the Torah tell us that the Almighty came to the city and to the Tower?

Rashi, the father of all commentaries, cites the Midrash Tanchuma which states that the Almighty did not actually need to come down to view the tower. He did so in order to teach judges not to condemn anyone until they investigate and understand the entire situation.

In a broad sense, there is a lesson for all of us, not just judges of a court. We all judge the actions of others. Let us not condemn anyone on the basis of hearsay or circumstantial evidence. We must view a person favorably unless we have carefully investigated the matter and have established beyond doubt that he is guilty of the charges against him.