© 2014 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Noah’s Tree Of Life
These are Noah’s words to his children after the Flood…
Prologue 2/The Drama at the Ark’s Exit
Canaan is now like a dead son to me. I have expected so much good from him; but instead: look what I received! Then a thought strikes my mind. Does Heaven pay me back now for the sorrow I have inflicted on my own grandfather Enosh? He too raised me like his own son, and taught me everything he knew. He too hoped to make me a spiritual leader like himself, but I’ve disappointed him so badly! I first disobeyed him when I married your mother Naama despite his objection. I also rebelled against his teaching when I adopted ONENESS. Is it a wonder that my own grandson is treating me the same way?
“Why do you drink so much?” You keep asking me, “What are you running away from?” First, bad memories of the Flood still haunt me day and night. I still hear the cries of my family and friends calling my name trying to get into our Ark, but alas! They were washed away by the rising, gushing waters. Your mother and I tried hard to open the Ark’s door it and let them in, but the Merciful One “closed it for me,” (Genesis 7: 16.) In so much despair we heard their cries fading away…
But my heavy drinking relates not to the past as to the future, your future. As I have said, I fear your future so much that after the Flood I even hesitated to start a new civilization. You may not recall this now, so let me remind you of the moment we exited the Ark the first time. That was the first time I dared to refuse the CREATOR’s command!
The drama at the Ark’s exit
Imagine, the Flood’s water had already receded, the dry land exposed, the Raven gone and the Dove returning with an olive tree’s branch in its mouth, telling me that life on Earth was already blooming. Yet I did not let you go out. We remained secluded in our Ark for three more weeks! People now wonder, “What kept you for so long? Had we been there, we would have rushed out immediately!” (Midrash.)
But they were not there in the Ark, nor did they feel what I felt. They have never feared what I feared.
“Noah! Go out of your Ark!” (Genesis 8:16)
I recognized the voice. This was the CREATOR, the All-Mighty JUDGE, ordering me to go out. His tone was tough, commanding. And I, Righteous Noah, was expected to comply. Who would not? His Mighty Sword was still lifting over our world with a threat. He had just executed His harsh verdict on humanity. Who wouldn’t listen to Him? Yet, I, Noah the son of Lemech, did not comply this time. What a change: I, who had always ‘walked in His ways,’ (Genesis 5: 9) did not obey His command this time!
What kept me in? I did not say it loudly, but He read my mind, and was therefore adamant: “Noah, go out, you and your wife and your sons and their wives!” (Genesis 8:16) This time He was more specific. He ordered us to exit the Ark as couples, me and my wife, my sons and their wives. He wanted us to start procreating and build Mankind again. But I too was adamant: we would not exit and would not bring more children to this cursed world! (Midrash)
Oh, I did let the animals go out, of course. Why should they suffer? And we too finally succumbed to His pressure and we did exit the Ark, but in separate genders: males apart and females apart (Genesis 8: 18.) I did not budge. I would not allow my family to start a new civilization, unless I have been assured that ALL my fears would be answered.
What I feared was that you, my sons, would repeat my generation’s errors. The Flood had come, after all, because of the evilness of Man’s hearts and the rampant BLOODSHED and THEFT, called ‘hamas,’ that plagued my generation (Genesis 6: 12.) As soon as we go out, I thought, my sons would repeat the story of Cain and Abel. You would start coveting, become jealous and commit hamas no different than my own generation. And when that happens, who would hold back another Flood from returning? And moreover, would there be another Noah to save humanity from extinction? If so, why should we procreate?
Read also: “Genesis Vs. Science, Can they Match?” At www.smashwords.com/b>
To be continued