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Teachings

Noah B’resheet/Genesis6:9-11:32

Torah Portion: Noah B’resheet/Genesis 6:9-11:32

Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:1-55:5

Today we read the second portion from the book of Genesis. In this portion there are many subjects we can cover. I will try to pick two or three for our time together.

To begin, I want to look at Genesis 7:2, 8. In these two verses we see Noah is commanded by G-d to take seven pairs of clean beasts and one pair of unclean beasts. What are we to make of this? Why did G-d specifically tell him to bring seven pairs of clean animals and only one pair of unclean? Remember, this is 400 years before we will see this again appear in Torah in Leviticus chapter 11. In Leviticus the scripture goes into more detail about what animals are clean and which ones are unclean.  

Also, before the flood Noah and his family were not meat eaters. But evidently Noah understood which ones where clean and which were unclean.  Do our verses today in Genesis have any impact on how we understand the kosher food laws and to whom they apply?  At this point in time there was no Jewish nation.

Now, I want us to pay attention to one detail in the construction of the ark. The word ark in Hebrew is tevah. We see this same word appear in the story of the baby Moshe. When Moshe’s mother could no longer hide him at home she got a basket of reeds and placed him inside the basket.  If you remember the story found in Exodus 2:3, the basket was covered over with tar and pitch to make it water tight. The same word and the same concept was used here in our portion today and then later in Exodus. In both situations the tevah was built to protect and to save. 

Now an interesting point, the word tevah also means word. Our prayers to G-d uses tevah to seek guidance and salvation from G-d.

In the face of issues in our lives we sometimes feel the waters of doubt and despair gathering around us. What is our help in these times? We enter through the door of faith. Yeshua used this picture of himself as the door in John 10:9. He is the door through which we find salvation.

Remember in Noah’s time, when the rain began to fall and the waters to rise there was time for others to enter the ark but no one did. There can come a time when the door closes and it will not be possible to enter. (Luke 13:24-25) My point in all this is that we have a door of hope. When trouble coms and we are looking for relief or answers we can find it in Him. It takes effort on our part to stay in the Word, to daily move toward Him and not be swept away by fear of what surrounds us.

Now to my question of the week. In Genesis chapter one we read a common theme. That theme is captured by the Hebrew word tov or good. In the days of creation everything G-d created was called good. Now, this week when we read chapter nine of Genesis we see another word used multiple times. That word is brit or covenant. In the eight chapters between chapter one and chapter nine of Genesis we see man sinning. First Adam and Eve, then Cain sinned. Then the good began to give way to what we read in Genesis 6:6 where G-d regretted that He had made man on the earth.

With this change came G-d’s answer in the form of a covenant. A covenant sets the framework governing how man should live. The framework was, don’t kill, don’t steal, love your neighbor.  G-d’s covenant with man was to never destroy the earth again with a flood.

So, here we see a new era beginning. We are created in the image of G-d. Others are also created in the image of G-d. In this Torah portion G-d reminded them of that fact and warned they were not to kill another human because they were also made in His image. We know all people made in G-d’s image deserve our respect.  In Micah 2:10 we read, “Do we not all have one father? Did not one G-d create us?”

As the people of G-d, as people who put their faith in Messiah, we have the responsibility of living our lives as a child of His. We strive to carry His image with us in our every action. Hate cannot become part of our lives. We are governed by the love of G-d expressed in this world through the Messiah. Our world is a mess, the extent of which is all around us daily. Our lives must be lived not by the standards of this world but by the standards of the tevah of G-d and what it requires of us.

Bless each of you this day.