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.
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 —