You do the math: four men and four women (Noah, his wife, his three sons and their spouses) responsible to provide appropriate care and attention for at least two representatives of every species of animal then in existence.

If the environmentalists are to be believed, we're losing thousands of unique species of animal, avian and insect life to extinction every year. Can you imagine how many species were around in those days for Noah to minister to?

The days they spent in the ark would prove far from a pleasure cruise. Not discounting the understandable grief and frustration they would have been experiencing as they witnessed the destruction of the world they knew and the deaths of all their friends and extended families, every moment they spent on board was devoted to ministering to their floating menagerie.

So frantic was the pace, that rabbinical tradition has it that Noah finished the journey "worn out and coughing blood." To add injury to insult, he was maimed after being attacked by the lion, crazed with hunger when Noah arrived once slightly late with the food.

It is a sad indictment on the world as we know it that all too often it is those few good souls who unselfishly volunteer to minister to others who pay for their generosity, hurt by the very people they are aiming to help.

In many ways, our post-Holocaust generation bears distinct similarities to Noah and family post-flood. We too are survivors, a pitiful remnant of the world that was.

The temptation is to throw up our hands in despair, to refuse to take part in the rebuilding of a world where such injustice and iniquity can exist. This response, however, would make a mockery of the very real debt of gratitude we owe for having been spared and would insult the memory of those who died.

Our responsibility is to take up the burden of service, reach out to others and exert ourselves to the utmost in providing for their spiritual, emotional and financial needs. It may be difficult, we may well suffer personal damage in pursuit of our holy charge, but we dare not forsake our purpose.

Right now there are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe and ignorant people to educate. We must not rest until we have expended our every last drop of sweat and blood and our ark is resting safely on the mountaintops of history.