© 2016 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
BLOODSHED-11/The Heavenly Court Response to Noah
“And YHVH smelled the good aroma”
1: Noah’s offering and prayer
Standing by his Altar on Mt. Moriah, Noah unloaded his worries. He said no word. He relied on his burnt offering to carry up his heart tribulations and petitions. He was adamant: for the first time in his life he would not comply with ELKM’s order and would not procreate and would not start civilization again, that is, unless:
Without such promises, he would not be a new Adam.
This was a new Noah. Gone was the “righteous person who walked with ELoKiM” in full compliance. There was a new Noah, one who dared to present his own opinion to the All Mighty ELKM.
To his luck, ELKM had already changed His mode of rule, and He was no longer the harsh Dictator who had created the Six Days. We have seen how, prior to creating Adam, ELKM ‘descended’ from His High Pedestal of ruling ‘awesomely alone’ to become a King Who Consults, Who Listens. This happened before creating Adam, when He spoke in plural. But for Noah, this wasn’t enough. He wished that ELKM would ameliorate His Judgment, and be more patient with Mankind.
And at the same time, he wished that YHVH would “come out” of the Ark and show more Mercy to the world, so that another Flood would no return SO FAST as before.
And for the first time in his life He posted his request as an ultimatum: if his requests are not met, he would not procreate.
This change in Noah is crucial. One doesn’t enter a TREATY or a COVENANT with a baby. The Heavenly Court would enter a COVENANT with Mankind only when Mankind has matured. Hence, by exercising his Free Will, Noah demonstrated that humanity had grown enough to COMPREHAND and FULFIL the terms of a Covenant between G-d and Man.
But at this point, he wondered: would he, a mere flesh and blood, be able to change the heart of the Heavenly Court? Could he hope to see a change in the human heart?
2: The Heavenly Court after the Flood
Frustrated, closely watched by his small family, Noah gazed at the smoke coming out of his offering. To his dismay, the smoke did not ascend upwards but rather hovered over Mt. Moriah, filling the air with a stench of burning flesh. Noah felt deflated, denied, rejected. Hiding his face with his hands, his tears ran down his cheeks.
Then he heard the Heavenly Court passing by him in full Glory. Like a train, the two Attributes YHVH and ELKM passed by him, spoke to him, each viewing its point of view. Moreover, the smoke from his Altar ascended now straight to the sky, not affected by the strong wind.
And like before the Flood, the Attributes kept its PROTOCOL:
YHVH spoke first and only about the human heart
ELKM spoke second and only about the BLOODSHED Laws.
Do you have a better opportunity to learn about the Heavenly Court?
Here is the text showing the Heavenly Court passing by Noah:
“And YHVHsmelled the sweet aroma, and YHVHsaid to His heart,
I shall not again curse the ground any more for Adam,
For the drive of Adam’s heart
Is evil from his youth,
Neither shall I smite
Noah and his sons and said to them,
Be fruitful and multiply, and filled the earth,
And surely the blood of your life shall I require from the hands
Of every beast, and from the hands of man, from the hands of man I shall
Require the blood of man, whoever shed blood of man, by man will his blood be shed
For in the image of ELoKiMHe made the Adam… ”
“And ELoKiM told Noah and his sons saying: And I, MY SELF, shall establish my Covenant with you and your seeds after you…and I shall maintain my Covenant with you so that never again shall all flesh be destroyed by the water of the Flood and never again there shall be another Flood on Earth….
Like before the Flood, the Heavenly Court appears as two symmetric Wings of a ‘Butterfly’:
One Wing carrying the Name of YHVH twice (painted blue)
Second Wing carrying the Name of ELoKiM twice (painted red.)
Then follows the final verdict of the SELF, saying “And I, My Self….” that seals the discussion in the Court.
Noah’s name appears once, in ELoKIM’s Wing.
Unlike before the Flood, Noah is NOT seen here carried by the two Wings from each side, like a ‘baby.’
Instead, Noah is mentioned only once, in the Wing, of ELKM.
The reason is that Noah received ELKM’s Blessing of “be fruitful and multiply,” thereby making him a new Adam. A more mature Adam.
Let’s focus now on the Wings.
YHVH worlds to Noah comprise of SIX lines:
1. “And YHVH smelled the sweet aroma,
2. “And YHVH said to His/Her heart
3. “I will no longer curse the ground anymore for Man’s sake
4. “For the drive of Man’s heart is evil from his youth
5. “Neither shall I again smite anymore everything that living as I have done
6. “As long as the Earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease
These Six statements need elaboration.
1: YHVH approved Noah’s offering
“YHVH smelled the good aroma…” For ‘scholars’ unfamiliar with the Torah, this verse seems ‘childish.’ How can G-d be bribed by the smell of burning flesh!
But all they have to do is to look at the speaker: The Attribute of MERCY, YHVH.
She ‘dwells’ in our heart, and therefore sensitive to the turmoil in it.
Noticing Noah’s frustrations, She CONSENTED to accept his burnt offering.
She therefore said to his ears: “How good is this aroma of this burn offering!”
By this, She calmed him down.
Moreover, here YHVH announced to Noah that Mankind CAN approach the Heavenly Court by prayer (and offering) and change its heart.
2: Man! Talk TO your heart!
“And YHVH talked to His/Her heart, saying…” YHVH did not speak here directly to Noah. She PASSED BY HIM, speaking “TO her Heart.” The rabbis noticed Her message: Noah! You too CAN talk TO your heart! If you warry about the bloodthirsty nature of Mankind, if that is why you refuse to procreate, then you should know that your heart is in your hand!
The rabbis noted here that throughout the Bible, ‘righteous people’ talk TO their heart, while ‘wicked ones’ like Esau and Haman, talk IN their heart. The righteous ones control their hearts, while the wicked ones succumb to it.
3: The Court would show more Mercy
YHVH continued: “I shall not again curse the ground any more for Adam…” YHVH kept addressing Noah’s worries. The Heavenly Court would show more Mercy in the future.
4: Man will continue to mature
“For Man’s heart is evil only at his youth…” This famous verse is usually misunderstood. YHVH agrees with Noah’s contention that Man’s heart is bloodthirsty, and that the Flood may return. But She adds: What you have seen, Noah, is Mankind in its youth. Children before puberty are often ruthless. Mankind is no different. With you, Noah, Mankind has already matured. Like a child entering puberty, your heart is more capable of perceiving COMPASSION, LOVE AND MECY. Mankind after you, will perceive me, YHVH, better than the generations before you.
And moreover: Mankind will continue to grow and be able to accept better the rule of the Merciful YHVH.
Note that for this very reason, the rabbis instituted that a boy can enter the yoke of the Torah only at age 13, a girl at age 12, at the time when they enter puberty. Only at that age, not before, they can perceive LOVE, COMPASSION and MERCY, the features of YHVH in their hearts.
5, 6: The Sabbath is a remedy for BLOODSHED
“I shall not smite all life…as long as the day of Earth,
seed time and harvest, and cold and heat and summer
and winter and day and shall not cease (shabath)…”
In these two lines, YHVH consents to Noah’s plea and pledges to show more Mercy on Earth and Mankind. The term used here, ‘curse,’ conveys an emotional reaction against something bad, and is typical for YHVH. For instance: The Prophet Bilaam, as we’ll see, attempted to “curse Israel in YHVH eyes.”
We also learn from these lines that the Flood had come by a climate change. But the Hebrew for ‘cease’, shabath, hints for the Sabbath day. If Adam would keep the Sabbath, YHVH was saying, BOODSHED would disappear.
Now let’s see the second Wing, of ELKM.