© 2014 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Noah’s Tree Of Life
These are Noah’s words to his children after the Flood…
Prologue 4/My Prayer on Mt. Moriah
Outpouring my heart on Mt. Moriah
Standing by our Ark on dry land the first time, where would we go first if not to Mt. Moriah? This is where Adam and Eve had been born, where Cain and Abel had erected their altars and where Cain committed the first BLOODSHED. If I wanted to eradicate BLOODSHED from my children, there was no better place to offer a prayer than the site where BLOODSHED had began.
For the following three weeks our family traveled by foot from Mt. Ararat to Mt. Moriah. Sadly and silently we passed through empty villages and deserted towns, whose houses remained intact as if their owners were out only to return any minute. We found Mt. Moriah dry, as if the Flood waters had not reached its holy ground. I then identified for you, my sons, the remnants of the stone-altars that Cain and Abel had erected on that sacred Place. I also showed you the cracks in the rocky ground through which Abel’s blood had been absorbed into the abyss underneath the Mountain. From there his blood resurfaced through a small water spring on the eastern slope of the mountain, the so-called Shiloach Spring. Shiloah, as you know, means ‘spread.’ The spring’s waters spread Abel’s blood all over the valley to the south of Mt. Moriah. This cursed valley, I told you, is Cain’s Hell, as the CREATOR said him: “Cursed is the ground that opened its mouth to absorb your brother’s blood!” (Genesis 4:11) This cursed valley should never be settled by Mankind, I told you. It should serve as a remembrance to the first killing of Man by Man.
Editor: That valley has indeed remained cursed forever. It was never settled. The Canaanites erected in it an altar to burn their sons to the idol Molech. The wicked kings of Judea did the same. Jeremiah refers to it as Tophet, a burning oven. He also calls it after its owner, Hinom, as the Valley of Hinom, Gey-hinom, which has become the nickname for hell.
Then I built my Altar on top of Mt. Moriah, using the very stones of the altars of Cain and Abel. I made it a square of stones filled with the dirt of the Holy Ground. I said, “Out of this dirt Adam was formed, and by this dirt our sins will be atoned.”
Editor: Noah altar’s design has been a prototype for all the altars after him on Mt. Moriah. Thus King Solomon and Ezra built their altars with Noah’s design. In the same token, Noah’s burnt-offering and prayer has been the prototype for all silent prayers associated with burnt-offerings. The words he used above were also used by the priests of the Holly Temple when offering sacrifices on the altar.
I built a ramp on the southern flank of the Altar so that whoever climbs on it would face Mt. Ararat at the north. “We should always connect in our minds Mt. Ararat with Mt. Moraih, to prevent another Flood” I told you. And I said, “On this mountain BLOODSHED started, and on this mountain it will end!” Then I added: “If you build a city at the foot of this holy mountain, name it ‘The City of Peace,’ Jeru-Salem.”
Then, emulating Abel, I offered on my Altar a lamb, rather than Cain’s fruits. I took one of my seven lambs (Genesis 7:2) and tied it on the Altar. But unlike Abel’s gift-offering, I made mine a burnt-offering. (Genesis 8: 20) Why? Because in a burnt offering, one unloads his heart in a silent prayer. When I raised my hand with a sharp knife over the lamb, my eyes caught the eyes of your mother Naama. She was furious. Her eyes cried out at me: How dare you slaughter my beloved kid, the one I have taken so much care for in the Ark! Moreover, her eyes also said to me: Fool! How can you stop BLOODSHED by killing an innocent creature?
Ignoring her I hit the throat of the poor lamb and then sprinkled its blood on the four corners of the Altar, just as Abel had done before me. I laid out the flesh on the burning Altar and I watched the smoke. I thought: My CREATOR, I need to say no words. You know my fears. Accept my offering and me, as you have accepted Abel and his offering. Read my heart as you have read Abel’s heart. Let me see a change in the human heart, so that it would be less bloodthirsty. Assure me that my children would not destroy the world. Assure me that they would not split again between MERCY and JUDGMENT. Let me also see also a change in Your Heart, so that if we sin again you’d show us more MERCY and less JUDGMENT…
To my horror, the smoke did not ascend to Heavens, as it had done in Abel’s Altar. Instead, the smoke hovered over the Mountain and we all chocked. The stanch of the burning flesh became unbearable. I felt nauseated, deflated and ashamed. Indeed, Naama was right. How could I, a mere human, aspire to change the HEAVENLY COURT’S heart, as well as the human heart? What a fool I had been!
I felt weak and I kneeled by the Altar, hiding my face in my hands. Tears of frustration poured out of my eyes. Why wasn’t my offering accepted? My entire life passed before me like a train of thoughts. I knew that I was scrutinized by Heavens. Was there any fault in my life that I needed to repent for? I thought about your mother. Was I right to marry her despite Enosh’s warning? I thought about her talented brother Tubal Cain. Was I guilty of causing his fatal accident? Was I right to object his death wish? I thought about Enosh. Was I guilty of profaning his name? Oh CREATOR, am I guilty of all these?
Let me tell you my children, about my life and you be the judge….
Read also: Genesis Vs. Science, Can they Match?” By Zvi Aviner, at www.smashwards.com