Torah Portion: Noah (B’resheet) Genesis 6:9-11:32
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:1-55:5
Tonight we look at the Torah portion Noah. It covers the flood and in some ways, the second creation, in that G-d judged the earth saving only Noah and his family, which are the ancestors of each of us. We go on to see the erection of the Tower of Babel, which G-d stopped by confusing the languages of the people of the earth, thus dispersing them across the face of the earth. The portion ends by introducing us to Avram for the first time.
We see Noah also spoken of in the New Testament in Hebrews 11:7 and Luke 17:27 where the emphasis is on faith when Yeshua compared His return to the days of Noah. Also we see this same theme in Matt. 24:37.
So here in this Torah section we see Noah being set apart as righteous and pure (Genesis 6:9) as opposed to the rest of humanity. He stood apart from those around him. Given our world’s present condition I think we are called to be identifiable as righteous and pure. We are to be righteous among those who are not righteous. By this we may show the way back to G-d.
Noah and his family survived the flood. How do we survive the floods in our lives? Each day we are flooded by the storms of life. Psalms 93:4, Psalms 77:19. Noah had a clear picture of G-d and G-d’s ability to get him through the coming flood. How did he do it in such a corrupt world: In our section we see Noah and his family enter the ark. Another meaning of the Hebrew word for ark is “word.” We can see the word ark translated as G-d’s word. Interestingly it took Noah 20 years to build the ark, showing that entering into the Word is a process. So it is with us. It is something we must devote our time to each day. When the storms of our life come we can enter into the ark of His Word and rest in Him. Do this each day. Take time. Religious Jews begin each day with two words. As soon as they awake they pray “Moda Ani” which is, Thankful am I. May each of us thank our G-d each day for His presence in our life, a strong tower into which we can run.
Another lesson for each of us appears in the scene after the flood after years have gone by, Noah plants a vineyard, gets drunk on the wine he makes. (Genesis 9:20-30) We see first Ham came into his father’s tent and found Noah naked. He went and told his brothers and they took a blanket, put it on their shoulders, and walked backward into the tent and covered Noah. They did not look at Noah. What can we learn from this? First, Ham’s reaction was not one of helping his father but rather one of judgment and being more concerned with gossiping to his brothers rather than helping his father in his undone state. If we accept that G-d brings things into our lives, why did He bring this situation into Ham’s life? Like each of us, it presented him with a choice. In some ways these choices are G-d’s way of showing us something in our own lives that needs our attention. People who cross our paths are like a mirror that reflects who we are. They often present us with a choice, do we just judge them as whatever; less than us, worse than us or do we take the opportunity to see what G-d is telling us about ourselves. Do we possess the same problem in our life or if not has G-d brought them before us to give us the opportunity to help, like Shem and Japheth, or to gossip and judge someone for their issues. Torah says that Shem and Japheth made sure they would not see their father’s nakedness but to only help him. Ham made an incorrect choice, whether it was because he had the same fault or because he was not concerned about his father. I pray we always look at every opportunity G-d gives us as how to bring help and light, not to judge but to lift someone up. Stay in the ark.