This week’s Torah portion is Noach. It contains two famous stories: Noah’s Ark and the Tower of Babel. It might be tempting to think, “Oh, I know those!” and skip right over, but it would be a mistake.
The great thing about Torah stories is that even though the words do not change, every year when we come back around to them, we are in a different place in our lives. When I was little, I was fascinated by the thought of all those animals: it seemed wonderful! When I was a young mother, I thought about Mrs. Noah: poor woman, all those animals and children to care for! This year, I think about the Flood itself: after weeks of weird weather, hurricanes, and wildfires, it seems eerily close.
We have seen the great city of Houston underwater. We have seen what wind and water will do to little islands in the path of a storm. Several counties here in California were consumed by firestorm; entire neighborhoods in Santa Rosa, CA are simply gone.
So take a look at these famous stories: read the parashah for yourself! Here are some writers with different points of view on the stories in Parashat Noah:
Noah, the raven, and the dove – Rabbi Kari Hofmeister Tuling, PhD
Rabbi 360 Podcast: Noach – Rabbi Seth Goldstein
Time to Break the Silence and Speak Out #metoo – Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild
Righteous In His Time – Rabbi Jordan Parr
End Violence and Stop Maelstrom Flooding – Rabbi Nina Mizrachi
And God Created Diversity, And God Saw That It Was Good! – Rabbi Stephen Fuchs
The Scary Side of Noah’s Ark – Rabbi Ruth Adar