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A Dvar Torah for Noach

"The End Of All Life Is Approaching"

A Dvar Torah for Noach: Genesis 6:9 – 11:32
By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © October 23, 2020

Ohr HaChayim explains that G‑d informed Noah that "the end for all life is approaching" (6:13). According to the Zohar this verse teaches that because of the destructive forces caused by humanity's sins and negativity, Divine Justice demanded these negative forces be eliminated, lest the very foundations of the earth be spoiled. Isaiah 66:1 says that the Earth is G-d's Footstool. It would not do for the metaphorical Footstool of the Holy One to be polluted and destroyed.

The only way to eliminate these negative forces was to destroy those perpetrating the evils, human kind. Due to human perversions all terrestrial life had become contaminated. Hence the Holy One declared He would wash away all life from the earth. Similar cleansings had happened before.

During these early days the people knew what they were doing. The stories of Adam and Chavah were remembered, but each person, enraged by narcissism, sought only his or her own desires. The Torah recounts how HaShem warned these people, encouraging them to abandon their evil deeds. There are repeated references to G-d's awareness of man's wickedness starting from chapter 6 verse 5.

Our sages say that six laws had been revealed to humanity at this point, before the global flood. The Babylonian Talmud lists these first six commandments, beginning at Genesis 2:16, as prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery, and robbery. The sixth was the positive command to establish courts of justice to oversee the application and enforcement of these laws.

But the people rebelled against these civilizing laws and did whatever they desired. Often they performed great evils and perversions. Because they rebelled and rejected the civilized behavior, G-d brought the global flood upon the earth.

After the flood a seventh commandment was given to Noah and his offspring forbidding the eating of flesh cut from a living animal (Gen. 9:4).

Embracing the Seven laws humans would naturally embrace other obvious righteous principles. Why? Because a heart that is turned to HaShem will be drawn to righteousness and will shun unrighteousness. The sages speak of 30 additional commandments that one who holds to the initial Seven Law Covenant will naturally observe. The include prohibitions against things like castration and sorcery. It was because humanity rejected civilized behavior that destruction of their world came upon them. “G-d saw the earth and behold, it was corrupt.” (Gen. 6:12).

Noah however was “righteous in his generation.” There is a lot of interesting commentary on what is meant by “in his generation,” but we know that through his righteous example it was demonstrated that humanity, despite our propensity toward negativity, has the potential to merit our collective calling as the children of G-d. We CAN fulfill the desire of our Creator that the entire planet become a global paradise of Love, Light and Peace. But we will never achieve this through rebellion.

Hence we read at Jonah 3:10, as expounded by Rabbi Hiya, "And G-d saw from their deeds that they had repented from their evil ways" and He granted Mercy and Rectification to these Gentiles, just as He does for the Jews who make teshuvah.

When the individual and collective human consciousness is darkened various concealments are enacted. It is as though curtains or walls are put into place between us and HaShem. But when people return to righteousness and observe the commandments of the Torah that apply to them, then they are restored.

In this way the earth will eventually be redeemed and restored to its original purpose. When all of the concealments are removed all of the creation will behold the Glory of HaShem. Then His Sacred Temple, the Beit HaMikdash will become the House of prayer for all people. Then the Shechinah will dwell openly upon the earth and all beings — both Above and Below — will be joyous. Then there will be universal peace. Then, as stated at Jeremiah 31:33:

No longer shall one teach his neighbor nor shall one teach his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know Me from their smallest to their greatest, says the HaShem, for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will no longer remember.
And again, it is written at Habakkuk 2:14:
"For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord-as the water covers the seabed."

But when mankind corrupts its ways, when it does not observe the commandments of the Torah, and when it sins before its Maker without shame, it is as if mankind drives the Shechinah out of the world. When this happens the earth is left corrupt and a state of darkness consumes their days as well as their nights. This is when the earth is corrupt and corrupted. At such times a different spirit rests upon the earth and upon the consciousness of humanity! This spirit causes the earth's further corruption to the point when people murder their own children, which liars and thieves rule over their nations, when good is called evil and evil is good as warned by Isaiah haNavi at chapter 5 verse 20 in his book. When a country or a people sinks this low it is not enough to polish the rust or paint over the rotted wood. A desolation comes destroying the old. Only then is righteousness reborn. Pray that we have not yet reached this point!

How can the world again be filled with the Light of HaShem? How can humanity welcome the Shechinah to dwell among us? Through our deeds, and moreover through our consciousness! Through teshuvah and hitbodedut! Through emunah, through a life of motivated faith and tikkun. As the prophet declares, 'If My people who are called by My Name will humble them,selves and pray' ... Jews and non-Jews alike can reduce the concealments and begin to see the world as it truly is, as Gan Eden. Truly for those with eyes to see and ears to hear we are, even now, completely surrounded by the Love and Protection of the Beloved. He enraptures us within His own Tallit Gadol as a Mother protects Her child. IF we can see. IF we will to see.

But Noach got drunk and his descendants sought to glorify themselves at the Babel and at so many other places. Out of compassion HaShem called forth His servant Avraham to be our father, and through him He established the everlasting priesthood and the eternal Nation.

Along with those who embrace the Seven Laws, this priesthood is intended to prepare the way for the coming of Mashiach ben David and the establishment of the global Gan Eden. But too many of us are asleep, or assimilated, or lack emunah. Hence the world is as it now is.

Are you doing your share in this glorious work of Tikun Olam? The world is as it now is because of bother our actions and inactions.

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