• Aliza Davidovit

Size Doesn’t Matter—or does it?

A brilliant young scholar was once asked how he had become so smart being that he was so young. He replied that everything he knew he had studied in five minutes.

“How could that be?” he was asked. To which the young scholar answered, “Every time I had five minutes, I studied.”

In today’s world when we hear numbers such as 6.791 billion marking the world population or $1.4 trillion marking the 2009 US deficit or billions of years old marking the world’s age, it becomes evermore difficult for us to appreciate the small things such as our own worth, the value of money, or the preciousness of time. We live in a world of such exaggerations that the small and the simple seem to have lost their place. We are the super-sized generation where bigger is deemed better and small is irrelevant.

Go into any book store today and you will be assaulted by titles that invite you to be the best wife, the best cook, the best salesman, the best terrorist (okay, that one I made up). But the fact is I have never seen a self-help book that simply offers you how to be a tiny fraction better today than yesterday and a bit better tomorrow. Yet, sweeping and lasting change comes not in bold strokes but in tiny, honest incremental steps. As such, most of these books that offer "the world" but can't even deliver a moment end up in the cemetery of useless reading which decorates our book shelves.

We learn this week in the story of Noah that God did not destroy the world because of rampant and brazen sins such as killing or stealing, crimes which the legal systems of the time could deal with. According to biblical teachings, the world was destroyed because the people were guilty of chomos (not to be mistaken for chummus or Hamas). Chomos means “taking” something of an insignificant amount which can not really be defined as stealing. For instance, someone goes to a market and tears off a grape and eats it--not much damage done. However, then the next person comes along and does the same thing, and so on. It is not long before that bunch of grapes, or nuts or olives are diminished both in appearance and quantity--and the owner really has no one to blame for the theft. From grape to grape justice was not served. That is when God stepped in--when people corrupted fair dealing within the parameters of the law and only God could mete out true justice.