• Rabbi Skorka

NOAH


The narrative of the Book of Genesis suggests that God´s plan for the human being, each provided with free will, included all the families and peoples of the earth. Everything seems harmonious in the Garden of Eden, which was fashioned for the first couple and its seed. But since the beginning of history the human being rebelled against God. Arrogance, jealousy and frustration led to the loss of the harmony necessary to live in Eden and afterward to the first fratricide. Since then humanity searches for its path among conflicting passions.


In the tenth generation after Adam, human corruption reached horrible dimensions. After looking on human degradation, God regretted, so to speak, having brought all of Creation into existence. God determined to eliminate it. But the presence of one righteous man, Noah, made God desist from this idea and instead save Creation through him.


God made a covenant with Noah before sending the destructive flood (6:18) and after it (9:11-17). In the first one He assured him of his survival, in the second He assured him that never in the future would He send again a calamity capable of destroying all of existence. The rainbow was the sign of this guarantee. Noah should live a full life with no fear that the horrors he witnessed will be repeated. But from another perspective, there is an implicit warning in this covenant: if the world is ever destroyed it will occur through the doings of humanity.


The direct and simple message of the narrative is that God has created everything in order to be to be together with human beings. God expects humanity to act with justice, goodness, mercy and equity so as to preserve God’s Creation and to discern God’s presence throughout their lives.


After this story, begins a narrative about a new covenant between God and another exceptional individual: Abraham. This covenant is much more demanding than the first, it requires Abraham and his offspring to be the witness of God on Earth, as Isaiah later expressed it: (43:12): “and you are my witnesses, says the Lord, and I am God.” This was interpreted by Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai centuries later as: “if you are my witnesses, says the Lord, I am God, and if you are not my witnesses it is as if I would not be God” (Pesikta de-Rav Kahana (Bernard Mandelbaum), Piska 12, BaHodesh HaShlishi, Dibbur HaMathil: (6) Anokhi Higadeti; Yalkut Shim´oni Torah, Parashat Ytro, Remez 271, Dibbur HaMathil: Tania Ein Mevatlin; Yalkut Shim´oni Yesha´yahu, Remez 455, Dibbur HaMathil: Anokhi Higadeti VeHosh´ati)


An existence in which God is being sought is, according to Amos (5:4), full of life., Without being aware of God’s presence, existence itself becomes meaningless. But it is the Creator who seeks people to covenant with them in order to generate a tight and deep bond between them.

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