Noah’s Ark: Mysticism and Mayhem

Genesis 7 – We’ve all grown up hearing schmaltzy stories about Noah’s ark, with cutesy pictures of the ark and all the animals. It made for a great children’s fable, but today we’re going to explore the story as it’s told in the Torah and Kabbalah. We’ll start pre-Ark. Why did GD want to send a Flood to destroy humankind?

According to biblical texts, the world had become a den of iniquity — overrun by sexual abuse, thievery, greed, senseless hatred, bigotry, depravity, corruption, megalomania and violence.

Most people have heard that Noah brought two of each kind into the Ark. In the original worlds of the Torah GD commands Noah to take seven of each Kosher (clean) animal onto the ark and two of every non-Kosher animal.

It took Noah 120 years to build the ark! (Torah). In all that time, the people of Shurupaak did not try to straighten up and fly right, despite the many warnings GD sent them. In fact, while Noah was building the ark, his neighbors mocked and bullied him incessantly. Nonetheless, Noah stayed the course.

At a deeper level of Jewish interpretation, the ark is a metaphor for safe space. The “ark” is called Tebah in Hebrew. The word Tebah is found in two places in the Torah — it’s the word used to describe Noah’s vessel and the word used to describe the basket of reeds which floated baby Moses down the Nile to safety. We all want to build an “ark” to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harmful people in the world.

With Moses the water מים was used to save. In Noah’s story, water was used to destroy. Water is a powerful yet life-sustaining force. In Hebrew there are many different names for GD and Water is one of them.

After 40 days and 40 nights the rain stops and Noach (his Hebrew name) sends out a bird to check things out. What kind of bird does Noach send out?

The first bird Noach sends is a raven. Ravens are known to be shrewd, clever and highly intelligent. As spirit animals they are other worldly creatures who come to us with the gifts of magic, mystery, healing and transformation.

In Midrash the raven tells his side of the story. The raven (who doesn’t like Noah) has a conversation with him, accusing Noach of trying to kill him and thus destroy his species by sending him out first.

Despite his misgivings, the raven goes out, but keeps circling the ark. When the raven’s message proves inconclusive, Noach sends out a dove three separate times, waiting a week in-between.

Bereisheet/Genesis 8:6-14

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark. And he sent forth a raven, and it went forth to and fro. And he sent forth a dove, to see if the waters were abated. But the dove found no rest for her foot, and she returned unto him to the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. And the dove came in to him at eventide; and in her mouth an olive-leaf freshly plucked; so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; and she returned not again unto him anymore.

What did Noah send the raven first? What did Noah learn from the raven’s return and why did that cause him to send out the meeker dove?

Torah.org

Noach didn’t quite trust the process. When he sent her out again for the third time, she didn’t return. Only then did he believe it was safe to leave the ark.

Click page 2 below for part 2 —

10 thoughts on “Noah’s Ark: Mysticism and Mayhem

      1. If it weren’t for GD’s promise not to destroy the earth, I would think this coronavirus is a punishment for all the corruption amongst humans and the damage we have inflicted on each other and the earth itself.

        But GD made a promise to Noah and I believe it. So what is the spiritual lesson of things like the bubonic plague, the 1918 Spanish flu and this current crisis? Here we are being told to isolate from one another, yet what we desperately need is connection. We need to heal the rift of separation, bigotry, racism, intolerance, homophobia, and other ways that we fail to see the common humanity in one another.

        This virus doesn’t care about our differences. It infects (and often kills) everyone equally, rich or poor. Is the opportunity here that we have to band together to fight a common foe that threatens us all? How do we do that? Are we doing that? I have seen evidence how people are coming together all over the world to help one another. Is it enough? Are we going to learn the lessons that GD wants us to learn? Are we awake enough now to see that we can no longer live as if we are separate? What affects one affects all. I am afraid for myself and everyone else. I so desperately want us to heal our world and live together in peace. The earth is talking to us. Will we listen?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Soul Circle

          Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Reppy!! These are crazy times we’re living in! I wonder what the outcome will be? Will people just revert to their original settings when it’s over? Will there be any lasting changes for the better? Sending much love your way!! 🌺

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  1. Walter F Hernandez

    Will say that raven represents our very own thoughts in the middle of our stressful situations, it keeps flying around our heads. However when we truths in Hashem, we send our prayers, our positive thoughts to people’s need. The olive branch represents shalom. Shalom for who? For the one who sent the positive thoughts and the one who receives.

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  2. Walter H

    I Will say that raven represents our very own thoughts in the middle of our stressful situations, it keeps flying around our heads. However when we trust in Hashem, we send our prayers, our positive thoughts to people’s need. The olive branch represents shalom. Shalom for who? For the one who sent the positive thoughts and the one who receives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Soul Circle

      Really good analogy on the raven, Walter! The funny thing about the olive branch is that Noah didn’t trust it as the sign that it was okay to leave the ark. They stayed on the ark until he sent the dove out again a week later and it didn’t return. In light of what you said, that means Noach didn’t have shalom in his heart. Interesting thoughts you have inspired! Many thanks and much appreciation for your insights and reflections. 🌻

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  3. Pingback: Spirit Animals In Torah, Midrash And Jewish Folklore – Soul Circle

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