Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue
Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue

Thought for the Week

Thought for the Week

Noach - Ophelia and the Apocalypse

Monday was a strange day. The air had a menacing feel to it, and the skies were an ominous colour. We were expecting rough weather as hurricane Ophelia paid a rare visit to these isles. Thankfully, we were spared the full force of the storm's destructive power.

Nowadays, nothing is quite the same without a trending hashtag. One which caught my attention on Monday was #Apocalypse. It seems that for many people the world was coming to an end. Unusual situations will have that effect - especially when our impotence and powerlessness are on stark display.

Throughout history, the apocalypse - the end of the world - has captured people's imaginations. Tragically, this has not been without a heavy price, with adherents to this belief often despairing and ending their own lives. From Nostradamus to other charlatans there are always those who predict doom and claim to know the future.

In Judaism, the only prediction about the world's end is positive. Rather than chaos and upheaval, there will be a transition into another world - very different from this one. But, critically, the only route to the World to Come is via this very special physical world. Apocalypse is not in G-d's plan. Even as He destroyed the world in the Great Flood, leaving behind Noach and his family to rebuild it, it did not give Him any joy. On the contrary.

G-d, as the Creator, knows our character and foibles. He knows how far we can sink. He also knows how high we can climb. Rather than angry repercussions, G-d actually wants us to remain alive and to work on ourselves. To refine our character and to create a world which He - and us - can be proud of. This theme is beautifully and powerfully outlined in the prayers of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Don't worry about tomorrow. Make today count. Do another good deed, and bring a smile to a troubled world.

RABBI MENDEL LEW