The Beauty of Preparation
From the non-kosher animals, Noach was told “two of every sort shall come to you.” (Bereishis 6:20). But of the kosher animals, Noach was told “you shall take to yourself seven” (Bereishis 7:2).
Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky wonders why was it that there was this distinction between the kosher and non-kosher animals. If Noach deserved that the non-kosher animals should come to him without any effort, why did he not also deserve that the kosher animals come to him. (In fact, it seems to imply that Noach had more of a connection to the non-kosher animals than the kosher animals, which is somewhat insulting to him.)
Throughout the Yomim Noraim at Ahavas Shalom, the aliyos and kibbudim were sold by the Gabboim. Time and time again the auctioneer stressed the idea that it is more important to buy your Aliyah than to get your Aliyah for free. There is a saying in English: “No pain, no gain.” When a person has to work for something for a long time, it shows that that is something dear to him. Being that Noach was to bring a korbon, it would not be right if it just came to him easily. The hardship that one puts out in order to perform a mitzvah makes the mitzvah that much more beautiful in the eyes of Hashem and meaningful to himself. Chazal have their own expression which somewhat parallels the “no pain, no gain” expression:לפום צערא אגרא which literally means “according to the pain is the reward.”
Based on this, we can understand how Noach knew to bring a korbon. It seems to me that if he knew that it was something that he had to work hard for, it must be something to be used for a mitzvah.
When we put away our sukkos and reflect on the wonderful chag that we just had, it gives us time to internalize and ponder on the work that made the chag so appreciable.
As Chanukah is around the corner, we start to wonder what can we do to make that chag more meaningful to us. It seems to me if every day is used to its utmost, everything will become more meaningful to us.