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: I feel overwhelmed – almost drowning! – in the U.S. elections, and I also worry about climate change.
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:
Whence Evil? – Rabbi Amy Scheinerman
Naamah, Wife of Noah, Sings as She Goes About her Work – 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
Individual and Collective Responsibility – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks