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    Recently, with the help of Hashem, I’ve was asked to film shiurim on the remarkable series of learning known as Chok l’Yisroel, or more simply, the Chok. This is a discipline of study formulated first by the saintly Ariza”l who instituted it using the order of the weekly parsha that a person should study every day: Chumash, Novi, Kesuvim, a perek of Mishnayos, a piece of Gemora, and a piece of Zohar. A little later on, the venerable Chid”a added two more daily sections; one of mussar and another of halachah. The sum total is eight fascinating daily doses of remarkable Torah study.

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

    I mention this now because the Chok brings down a Zohar which states clearly that the name Noach is an anagram with the word chein because the reason why Noach found chein, favor in the eyes of Hashem, is because he was noach, he was gentle. Noach was what we call a very titled person. Very few people have received as many accolades as did Noach. He’s called an ish, a mentch; a tzadik, a righteous person; tamim, perfect; and “Es HaElokim his’halech Noach,” the beautiful compliment that “Noach walked with Hashem.” And yet, the very first praise that the Torah grants Noach is “Eileh toldos Noach, Noach – These are the accounts of Noach, that he was noach.” And the Tosefos HaRosh explains the repetition of the word Noach: it declares that Noach was an ish naycha, a gentle man. In Yiddish, there’s a word eidelkeit. There is no similar word in the English language. Eidelkeit is a synthesis of gentleness, refinement, and nobility of spirit. This is a crowning virtue for a person.

    In Pirkei Avos we are taught that the litmus test to know if Hashem is pleased with us is “Kol she’ruach habri’os nochah heimenu, ruach haMakom nochah heimenu – Anyone who people are at ease with, you can be sure that Hashem is at ease with him as well.” Take note of the word selection. 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 true barometer that Hashem is happy with him as well.

    And, let’s bear in mind 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 and 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 that merit, may we too find favor in the Eyes of Hashem and be blessed with long life, good health, and everything wonderful.