No, I am not going to review the story- who doesn’t know about “The Flood”?
Some interesting points:
- Noah did not bring in all the animals two-by-two: he brought in the clean animals seven-by-seven, and the unclean two-by-two;
- He first sent out a raven, which could have fed on any carrion left but not indicate if it was safe for them to leave the Ark, so later he sent a dove which only would feed on vegetation, indicating the waters had receded;
- the rainbow wasn’t necessarily created after the flood, but it was now used to signify the covenant that God made with Noah;
- before the Flood mankind ate only fruits and vegetables, but now mankind is allowed to eat meat, so long as there is no blood in the meat;
- this was (probably) the very first time that rain fell on the earth, as we are told that the garden and the earth was watered by a mist in the morning.
When Noah was lying drunk and uncovered (Gen. 9:20-28), Ham (as described in the Chumash) laughed about it with his brothers (was disrespectful) instead of covering his father, as his brothers did. The result is that Noah curses Canaan, the son of Ham, to be a slave to his brothers.
God, on the other hand, swore (Gen. 8:21-22) that He would never again hold the entire human race guilty of the sins of the individuals. Noah cursed Ham by cursing Ham’s son, and that curse was for all the generations of Ham. In a way, God relented of cursing the multitude for the sins of the individuals, but Noah cursed the multitude (all descendants) for the curse of an individual. To me, this shows that even a righteous man, which Noah was, will be less generous and merciful than God in his actions towards his fellow man (and woman.)
The final story of this parashah is the Tower of Babel, again a story that almost everyone knows. Just a single thought today on this: if the tower had been built as an alter to God, and not a means to show mankind’s strength, maybe God would have allowed it. The tower was built so that people could show their power and authority, and because it was a monument to mankind and not to God, that is the reason God did not allow it to be completed. If the tower had been built for the right reasons, and we continued to work together, a single humanity with a single voice and a single purpose that pleased the Lord, who knows what could have happened? Maybe there would not have been need for Messiah because we could have made our own paradise?
Naaahhhhh!! Couldn’t be- God tells us, in Gen. 8:21, that the heart of every man is evil from the start (it is called the Yetzer Hara, which means the evil inclination) and so God will just deal with each person in accordance to what they deserve.
It is a nice thought though, isn’t it? That of the world coming together, everyone working in unity for a common goal that is pleasing to the Lord, if only I could buy the world a Coke, and we could all sing in perfect harmony? Well, ….don’t hold your breath!
We are what we are, and during our life the goal should be to end up a better person than the one we started out as. We start off as sinners, born into a sinful world controlled by sinful people, and we have the one lifetime God gives us to get our act together. Shakespeare was right when he said all the world is a stage, and we are merely players; what you need to understand, what we all need to understand, is that the bible is the script God wrote for us, and we really need to read it if we want to know our lines!
Life is a dress rehearsal for eternity. We have seen God create mankind, destroy all of it (except for a remnant) and build an entire civilization, for a second chance. There will be one more great destruction, with one final rebuilding from the remnant that survive.
This play is almost ready for the opening night: we’ve had our read-through, we’ve been rehearsing for hundreds of generations, and who knows whether or not our generation will be the ones who get the curtain call?
Are you prepared to go on stage?