Every Little Helps
In Parshat Noach, this week, we read that G-d feels the need to destroy everyone in Noach’s world because “the earth had become filled with chamas”
This word chamas is usually translated as being robbery, but the real meaning is much more than that. In Judaism, there are three types of stealing:
- When you steal at night (showing that you are afraid of man, but not G-d)
- When you steal in daytime (showing that you are neither afraid of man or G-d)
- The worst is chamas. This is where you steal something so small that there is no punishment for it, and therefore you think there is nothing wrong with it. For example, you might go to a green-grocers store and steal a single grape, and then not buy that bunch of grapes. However, this is bad because if everyone were to take one grape then there would be none left, but no single person could be
punished for it. Also, people might not buy that bunch of grapes because it is not a full bunch.
So chamas is stealing small amounts. The message is that even little things count! We may think that it’s a really insignificant thing, but that’s not true.
A lot of the time, we can ‘invert’ the negative commandments of Judaism, turning them around to make them positive. So for example, we read that we can’t murder, so to make it positive we can say that we should actively try and save lives. In the same way, we can take the worst type of stealing, stealing little things, and turn it over and say that the best type of giving is giving little things… because if everyone gave something, however small and seemingly insignificant and unrewardable, then the world would be a much better place!
You will have more and more opportunities in school to give these little things – there will be charity boxes at the end of lunch queues, paper and can recyclying facilities, and just little acts of kindness to perform etc.
Noah’s society is destroyed partly because of the mistake of thinking that you can get away with little things. Let’s all try and turn that mistake around, which our world is in danger of commiting, and follow that supermarket slogan:
‘Every Little Helps’!