Search our Archives:
» Opinion & Society
By Michael Chessen
beginning, God created the world with an ideal sense of order. However, primordial
mans disobedience led to a collapse of divinely designed order to such an extent
that animals sought mates outside of their own species. In addition, a breakdown of
communication between people precluded societys functioning according to any kind of
a moral code, including one motivated by simple self-interest.
In the confusion that ensued from this disorder, even
basic language was turned inside out. Whereas humankind recognized the potential in Noah
to serve as the agent to comfort them, yinechem, from all
of post-Edens sorrow, God subsequently employs this exact same verb, but with intent
to regret having made man, and decides to erase him from the face of the
earth. As Rashi points out, this verdict was rendered not by Elokim, the God
who strictly administers justice, as we might have expected, but by the holy name we refer
to as HaShem, God as the merciful parent figure. Following the havoc of the
rains of the Great Flood, however, Noah in turn merits merciful remembrance from God as
Elokim when we would have expected the name Hashem.
It is perhaps only fitting that the Torah reading
of Noah reiterates Bereshits statement that man was created in Gods image, for
the very name, Noah, is the reverse reflection of the Hebrew chen
or favor. Noahs finding favor in the eyes of God spares humanity from
total destruction, and he is chosen to usher it into a new era.
Ultimately, the symbol of the new post-Flood
covenant between God and man is also a reflection, namely, that of the rainbow. The Malbim
commentary says that in the disordered state of nature before the Flood, the earths
waters possessed a certain coarseness which precluded their being able to
reflect the suns light and form a rainbow. Its appearance in the clouds now heralds
a new dawn not only for man and beast, but for all of natures elements as well.
Fascinatingly, the appearance of the rainbow also
foretells the tikkun, or corrective solution of our readings
concluding drama, namely, that of the Tower of Babel, in which the Torah describes the
world as initially being made up of a single language (and mindset). For we are to learn
that human society is ideally composed not of singularity, but of a mosaic of color and
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom!
Please let us know if you see something unsavory on the Google Ads and we will have them removed. Email us with the offensive URL (www.something.com)