This is a series for the bar/bat mitzvah parent on quick, concise and meaningful messages from the weekly Torah portion. They’re messages appropriate for any background – and appropriate to give in a speech to your young man or woman embarking on a journey through the teenage years.


Want to know a sure way to avoid water damage? Be a righteous guy. It worked for Noah.

While most of the Torah portion talks about Noah during the flood and its aftermath, the really impressive part of Noah’s story is what happened BEFORE the Torah portion even started.

We’re given this picture of humanity as a whole stooping to levels of immorality. Interpersonal immorality like stealing, sexual immorality, probably throw in some idol worship also. That’s a whole society. The society Noah grew up in. This is what he’s seeing all around him – this is what’s NORMAL. “You won’t take an apple from the stand in the marketplace when the owner’s not looking? What’s wrong with you?” Society had no problem with that.

And yet Noah manages to hold to a higher value system. “Noah was pure in his generations.” Noah stood against a tsunami of immorality – and stood strong. And when the real tsunami came – G-d helped him to not be swept over by that.

In life, you’re going to be subject to lots of influences. Good influences, bad influences. An adult knows how to define what her values are for herself and stick to them – no matter what society says.