Parshat Noach

brown wooden building under blue sky during daytime

Why an ark? Why Noah?

To survive a flood, Noah needed a boat. If we take a quick look at the description of the Ark we will realize that all the pictures in the children’s books that represent the Ark are incorrect. The Torah says that the Ark was about 300 cubits by 50 cubits, about the size of a football field.

As we said before, “the world was created for goodness”. God, Who has no want or need, created the world to benefit others with the goodness of it. And man, who was created in the image of God, must do kindness to others.

Man’s actions before the Flood — of being takers rather than givers — were the antithesis of this. Therefore, in order for the world to continue, a supreme act of kindness was necessary. Consequently, the person who would save the world and be the seed of a new world after the Flood should be the personification of generosity and kindness without any expectation of reward. The man who would be saved from the Flood had to personify this quality.

The Torah presents Noah as a tzaddik, a righteous individual. We generally imagine a tzaddik as an austere and holy person, but in this case we are presented with a different approach. Noah’s righteousness is based on his concern and concern for all creatures, which in turn enhances his closeness to God.

It was part of the Divine plan for Noah to take responsibility for the world. Therefore, instead of miraculously saving the world, God gave Noah the opportunity to participate in salvation: Noah found a hammer and nails, and built the Ark.

Noah’s generous attitude manifested itself at its highest intensity during the year he spent inside the Ark: Noah was responsible for feeding and caring for each of the species, which was the remnant population of the world.

Noah took this responsibility seriously. He studied the feeding habits of different birds to determine what type of worms each ate. And since the species eat at different times of the day, Noah and his family worked 24 hours a day to provide food for each of the animals at the appropriate time. He even brought pieces of broken glass to feed the ostriches, which are used to grinding food in their stomachs.

Noah rose to the occasion and took responsibility for everyone. And by this supreme act of kindness, he deserved to survive and lead the world to its renewal.

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