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Noah B’resheet/Gen. 6:9-11:32

: Noah B’resheet/Genesis 6:9-11:32

Haftorah Readings: Isaiah 54:1-55:5

Today we look at the Parasha Noah. Each year when we come to this portion I must admit, for me it is not an easy passage of scripture to understand on several levels. There are many places where I am at a loss to explain exactly what is happening. Perhaps one of the more difficult sentences in scripture to grasp is B’resheet/Genesis 6:1, just a few verses before our portion begins. In this verse we read, “And the L-rd repented that He…had made man on the earth and it grieved Him at His heart.” This verse begs the question, why did G-d say He repented for the act of creating man to begin with?

 

My view of G-d is that He is all knowing. Surely He knew from the beginning this would be man’s end. As I thought of this during the week it seems, for me at least, G-d formed man and gave man the opportunity to come to Him, to do His will. All of us have that choice today, yet we all still sin. Even with that, the door back to Him is always open. He stands ready to forgive us and restore us. 

Here in these verses we read that man had become totally corrupt except for Noah. The people of Noah’s time had been given every opportunity and yet refused to accept G-d’s mercy and grace. Therefore they had to pay the price. G-d was grieved that His creation had come to the point of only doing evil and chose not to come to Him.

In many ways, this reminds me of our world today. It is filled with rebellion and sin and according to scripture the time will come when G-d says enough and the end will come. (Luke 17:26-27 and Matthew 26:36-39) Those like Noah, who have lived their lives according to G-d’s will and word will be spared and live forever with Him.

It is sad and disheartening to see G-d’s creation going down the same road again. It requires of us, His people, to show there is a different way. It is time to say, “There is another path, come join us in G-d’s way.”

Now to the Torah portion, in Genesis we read this description of Noah, “Noah was a righteous man, and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with G-d.” When we read this verse it speaks of Noah in terms found nowhere else in the Torah. He was perfect. Now after the flood we read in B’resheet/Genesis 9:20-23 the following description of Noah, “he planted a vineyard. When he drank some of the wine he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.” The verses continue to speak of two of his sons putting a garment over their shoulders and backing into the tent to avoid seeing their father naked and covered him with the garment.

How do we explain such a change in this man who just a few verses earlier had been called a “Tzadik” or righteous man. Remember, he had lived in a disastrous age where everything had become corrupt. The world was filled with violence. Noah alone, stood as an example of what it meant to be righteous. He was a good man in a bad age and in many ways G-d rebuilt His creation because of Noah’s righteousness. So what happened?

Scripture does not give us a clear answer. However, there are some conclusions we may be able to draw. Think of each of us. Is it easy to maintain our faith? Is it easy to keep our spiritual balance in today’s world? As I considered the time in which we live, I expect we have become discouraged when we look around us. We can be faced with two choices, join in with the sinfulness of the world or continue to live a life of being in a minority in our community. The pull is intense to join the majority. None of us like being the odd one, the lonely man or woman of faith.

I expect Noah might have come to this time after the flood. It was just him and his immediate family, a lonely place to be for anyone. He could have strongly felt the loss of everything and sought the comfort of alcohol. We cannot know for certain but without any doubt he came to a crisis of faith and handled it poorly.

In our life today this is an important lesson. Because of the pandemic our lives have been disrupted. Our movements have been restricted and physical contact limited. Our faith is being tested. It is extremely important that we take the time to study, read and pray each day. It is vital that we maintain contact with believers and communicate our needs to others. We are not like Noah. He was alone, we are not. Cultivate and grow your relationship with the Father. Don’t allow the world to creep in to your life. Don’t turn to anything that will take you away from your Creator. He is your Rock and will never fail you.