When G-d decided that the world He had created had become so filled with corruption that it had to be destroyed by a great flood, He ordered the family of Noach chosen for survival to spend a year in an ark. They were given the responsibility of feeding all animal life that shared the ark with them in order to form the beginning of a new post-deluge world.
Even though G-d, with His infinite wisdom and power, could have devised any number of ways to guarantee the survival of the designated men and animals, He chose this way for a special purpose. The pre-deluge world was characterized by the callous indifference of man towards his fellow man, breeding the selfishness and violence which invited destruction. To prepare a new world in which consideration of others would be the raison detre it was necessary for Noach and his family to be occupied for an entire year catering to the needs of their animal charges. This was a powerful lesson in caring, because there was hardly an hour in the day when some animal was not hungry.
When we read this Shabbat the Torah portion describing Noachs experience we appreciate the cynical absurdity of the statement made the other week by the Minister of Interior that there is no one suffering from hunger in Israel. Poraz, who represents the elitist party opposed to both the religious and the poor, was sharply criticized by everyone, from religious to secular, and from Right to Left, for failing to learn the lesson of the ark.