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  • An analysis of Noah

    And how it applies to us. From this week's Torah portion.
    Noach: One Man is an Island

    30 Tishrei 5768, 12 October 07 02:39
    by Rabbi S. Weiss
    (IsraelNN.com) Each year, there ensues a "flood" of debate about our sedra's protagonist, Noach. Was he a tzaddik or not? True, the Torah calls him righteous, even "perfect," but only in his own generation; put him among other spiritual superstars and Noach suddenly doesn't seem so grand.



    The comparison is always made between Noach and Avraham, the Torah's next hero, who actually overlapped for 10 years with Noach. Avraham, unlike Noach, convinced lots of other people (at least on the surface) to accept One G-d. Avraham also cried out (though unsuccessfully) for Sodom's safety, rather than keeping quiet, a la Noach.


    In a subtle indictment of Noach's behavior, the prophet Yeshayahu calls the Flood Mei Noach, the "waters of Noach."


    Rabbi Ari Kahn prefers to compare Noach more with Moshe than with Avraham. In fact, he suggests, Moshe may actually be destined to rectify Noach's actions - or lack thereof. Moshe is also saved by an "ark," albeit a much tinier one. And he will live to the age of 120, the exact number of years Noach spent building the Ark, without being able to convince anyone other than his family to repent and "get on board."


    And when Moshe pleads (successfully) with Hashem to spare B'nei Yisrael after the sin of the Golden Calf, he says, "M'cheini" - "Blot me out" - of Your book if the Jewish People are excised. The word m'cheini has the same Hebrew letters as Mei Noach. The Arizal sees Moshe's pro-active prayer as a tikkun (correction) for Noach's silence and lack of involvement.


    Noach, surrounded as he was by water on all sides, was an absolute Island. Even before the rains started to fall, he lived in isolation. Perhaps this was his strategy for survival. He did not mingle with the other, corrupted people in his generation; he preserved his own level of righteousness. But, at the same time, he had no influence whatsoever on his fellow human beings. That is why he is such an ambiguous and conflicted character.


    In our own world, we often are prone to emulate Noach's style. We may seek to shelter ourselves behind walls, so we don't have to see - or interact - with other Jews who are "not our type." We shun them, afraid they will "infect" our kids. While insulating ourselves against "unholy influences" can certainly be justified, we will never save a world if we care only for ourselves. It's easy to practice v'ahavta l'reyacha kamocha ("love your neighbor") on a desert isle - but it's not very impressive.


    "And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries." And that - for Noach, and maybe for us, too - is a crying shame.


  • #2
    Patience

    Noah was a man of patience for his time.


    It took Noah a hundred years to build his ark; log upon log he dragged to the construction. Do as he did; drag log upon log to your construction, patiently, in silence, day after day, and do not inquire about your surroundings. Remember that Noah was the only one in the whole world who 'walked with God' (Gen. 6:9), that is, in prayer. Imagine the crowding, the darkness, the stench, that he had to live in until he could step out into the pure air and build an altar to the Lord. The air and the altar you will find within you, explains St. John Chrysostom, but only after you have willingly gone through the same narrow gate as Noah.
    The Way of the Ascetics, by Tito Colliander



    ...the Lord says: 'In your patience possess ye your souls' (Luke 21:19). He did not say: in your fast or in your vigil. By patience I mean that patience which is of God and is the queen of virtues and the basis of manly valor. It is in itself - peace amid strife, stillness in the midst of storm and an impregnable position for those who have acquired it.
    St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 84)

    Comment


    • #3
      Noah is described as righteous in "all his generations", meaning he comes from a long line of those who loved and served the Lord. Enoch (whose name I believe means preacher) must have told his neighbours about the coming judgement. He even named his son, Methusaleh, for the coming judgement... the people knew what was going to happen. They knew what this family believed.

      Noah preached by deeds, not by words. He preached by building his boat, in a world where there had not yet come rain. He preached by withstanding the mockery of his neighbours, and he preached by obediently following God's instructions to the letter. A project that took 120 years would not have gone unnoticed. His neighbours knew. Noah impacted on them. Just that, sadly, their eyes and ears were closed.

      It is sad indeed that Noah couldn't save more than his immediate family, and it is even sadder when you think that he probably lost some of his own children when the waters broke. But he was obedient to the Lord our God.
      Please could everyone pray for Mieke and Charles.

      My testimony http://bibleforums.org/forum/showthr...ight=testimony

      Comment


      • #4
        You know I never thought about the fact that he likely had other children. He was 500 years old so he could have had LOTS of kids! I'll chalk that one up to another thing I'll find out in glory.
        II Timothy 2:15
        Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
        Read My Testimony sigpic Visit Our Website

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Teke View Post
          Noah was a man of patience for his time.


          It took Noah a hundred years to build his ark; log upon log he dragged to the construction. Do as he did; drag log upon log to your construction, patiently, in silence, day after day, and do not inquire about your surroundings. Remember that Noah was the only one in the whole world who 'walked with God' (Gen. 6:9), that is, in prayer. Imagine the crowding, the darkness, the stench, that he had to live in until he could step out into the pure air and build an altar to the Lord. The air and the altar you will find within you, explains St. John Chrysostom, but only after you have willingly gone through the same narrow gate as Noah.
          The Way of the Ascetics, by Tito Colliander



          ...the Lord says: 'In your patience possess ye your souls' (Luke 21:19). He did not say: in your fast or in your vigil. By patience I mean that patience which is of God and is the queen of virtues and the basis of manly valor. It is in itself - peace amid strife, stillness in the midst of storm and an impregnable position for those who have acquired it.
          St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 84)

          I'd never considered Noah as an example to monastics and ascetics before....

          Very interesting.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by punk View Post
            I'd never considered Noah as an example to monastics and ascetics before....

            Very interesting.
            Yes, he could have been what they call a 'righteous fool'. There are those who appear to be foolish to everyone else in what they 'see' them doing.

            I recall a story of two men who one day decided to leave all for Christ. One had a family, but never came home again that day without a word to anyone. They both went into the desert and after some time one of them felt led to return among people. But not to evangelize or preach, but instead to mock the world. He would act foolish, the children loved him, and none ever knew what to expect of what he would do at any time. Doing things like throwing beans all around during a church service, or walk in a room with his staff and pound the floor demandingly like a grouch.

            Someone observed the fool out praying one day in the wilds, and he was surrounded by a great light.

            They don't wear their righteousness on their sleeve for the world, they hide it and mock the world. Like the present day monk in NY who endures the neighborhood mocking him and running him off from business establishments (latest news) because he walks around with a big cross in his hand and a sign that says "Jesus, why not?". He surely knows what he is doing as he is a Jew who converted to Christianity and he places himself in an established Jewish part of the community. (I love reading his blog, Nathanael speaks, he also is an antagonist of the church, which embraces him as a fool)

            Another example, in literature, would be Tolstoy's Grisha.

            Jhn 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

            The one feature that strikes us the most about the holy fool is his freedom.

            They can be both prophets and teachers to us.

            In Noah's time there was a lot of tribulation going on and Noah was in the midst of it. As the scriptures say, "tribulation worketh patience", Noah surely depicts this. But I also see that as the world mocks him, he mocks the world.

            Comment


            • #7
              That's a Jewish source, so I'd expect them to remember that God considered Noah to be among the three most righteous men in the history of humanity; Job, Daniel and Noah are cited in Ezekiel 14:20 as such.

              As a Jew, this Rabbi wouldn't have read 2 Peter 2:5, which lauds Noah as a "herald of righteousness."

              Noah spent those hundred years exhorting those around him to repentance, and it is not a mark of his lethargy but of their depravity that they refused.

              Comment


              • #8
                Another aspect of Noah that we can all identify with, is in what he did after he got off the ark. He built an altar in the new land and made sacrifice to God, and he planted a vineyard. These two things are likely relative.

                Ever since that time, man has built altars in whatever land he was in.
                Perhaps that altar and sacrifice has something to do with vineyards and the fruit produced.

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