Friday, October 19, 2012

Noah = Every person


Jewish commentators are divided over whether was truly righteous or whether he was simply the best of a bad lot in his generation. They focus on whether or not he should have tried to save his contemporaries’ from destruction, like Abraham who argued with God on behalf of the people of Sodom. To my mind that is an unfair expectation, since God and Noah had not prior relationship or covenant as God and Abraham had.

I think the important part of Noah’s story is after the flood. The world is a mess after the flood and the clean-up crew is very small. God promises not to destroy the earth again and withdraws from the scene.

In Noah’s world, which is our world, divine intervention is extremely rare. We have to get along by ourselves. Noah plants a vineyard (and I would assume other crops, too). He begins with productive work that requires a long-term commitment. He is successful; the vines flourish and give fruit. Noah harvests his grapes and makes wine successfully, perhaps too successfully. He gets drunk. He succeeds and stumbles. 

Sound familiar? We are all Noah. 

His son, Ḥam also gets in trouble. The details aren't important. What is important is Noah’s response. In the morning, he sobers up and opens his eyes. He knows what happened and takes action to remedy matters. He judges and punishes/curses the sinner, by himself without heavenly involvement. No less important, he also blesses his other sons, Shem and Yafet, because they responded correctly to the situation that had been created. 

Noah left the ark, saw the destruction and began to build.

No comments:

Post a Comment