Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Recently, with the help of Hashem, I was asked to film shiurim on the remarkable Chok l’Yisrael series. These sefarim, based on a study schedule first formulated by the saintly Arizal, contain a daily portion of Chumash, Navi, Kesuvim, Mishnayos, Gemara, Zohar, Mussar, and Halacha (the latter two sections were added by the venerable Chida). Every day, then, one learns eight fascinating doses of Torah.

(If you would like to join me on this wonderful journey, the first 30 shiurim – from Parshas Bereishis through Parshas Chayei Sara – are already available on TorahAnytime.com and Kol Haloshon.)

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The Chok l’Yisrael cites a Zohar that states that “Noach” is an anagram of “chein” (favor). Noach found chein in the eyes of Hashem because he was noach (gentle). Noach is given many compliments in the Chumash. He’s called an ish (a mentch), a tzaddik, and a tamim. But “gentle” is the very first compliment he’s given. Parshas Noach begins, “Eileh toldos Noach, Noach.” The Tosefos HaRosh explains that the Torah repeats “Noach” to tell us that he was an “ish naycha – a gentle man.”

In Yiddish, there’s a word “eidelkeit.” There’s no similar word in English. “Eidelkeit” is a synthesis of gentleness, refinement, and nobility of spirit. It’s a crowning virtue for man.

Pirkei Avos states, “Kol she’ruach habri’os nochah heimenu, ruach haMakom nochah heimenu – Anyone whom people are at ease with, you can be sure Hashem is at ease with him as well.” Take note of the words Pirkei Avos uses. It doesn’t say, “If one is liked” – which is indeed a very good thing. It says more than that! It says, “If people are at ease with you” – meaning they’re not walking on eggshells, they’re not uncomfortable with you. That’s a barometer that Hashem is happy with you as well.

And let’s remember that Noach wasn’t living with easy people! He was living with the generation of the Flood, who were steeped in chamas (all kinds of corruption). Yet, even with them he managed to be pleasant. We, too, living in the midst of a frightening pandemic, in a world of confusion, uncertainty, and much hostility, have to rise to the challenge of having an easygoing pleasant demeanor.

In the merit of us doing so, may we too find favor in the eyes of Hashem and be blessed with long life, good health, and everything wonderful.

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Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss is rav of the Agudath Yisroel of Staten Island. A popular writer and lecturer his Torah column appears weekly in The Jewish Press. Learn mishnayos with Rabbi Weiss by dialing 718-906-6471 or Orchos Chaim l’HaRosh by dialing 718-906-6400 (selection 4 twice). To engage Rabbi Weiss as a lecturer or to order his “Power Bentching,” call 718-916-3100 or e-mail RMMWSI@aol.com. To receive a weekly tape or CD from him, send a check to Rabbi Weiss, P.O. Box 140726, Staten Island, NY 10314, or e-mail him. Attend Rabbi Weiss’s weekly shiur at the Landau Shul (Avenue L and East 9th), Tuesday nights, at 9:30 p.m. Some of his shiurim are available on his Facebook page and TorahAnyTime.com. Sheldon Zeitlin transcribes his articles.