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A midrash about Noah

Shabbat Noach

Genesis 6:9-11:2

A Midrash:

The earth became a wicked place.  People were harsh to one another.  They spoke cruelly.  They stole from one another.  There was no such thing as human kindness.  They bullied each other and drove some to murder and others to suicide. They humanity forgot that they were made in the Divine Image. The world that God had made and once said, “This is very good.” was anything but good.  It was brutal and violent.


God was so upset that God decided the world needed a make-over. It was time to tear the house down to the foundations and rebuild.  And to help in that process God chose Noah.


Noah was a good man.  Not a great man but better than most around him.  God asked Noah to save a specimen of all the plants and trees and seeds and animals.  God told Noah to build an ark, a big boat, because the earth would be purified and washed clean of the cruelty and evil of this generation.


So Noah built the Ark gathered his family and the animals and plants. And they waited for the cleansing rains.


God was so saddened because the people of the earth would not change their ways that God began to cry. God cried and wept and wailed for forty days and forty nights. God ached because the world that was created for became so violent.  God wept so much hat the tears fell from the heavens filling the earth, flooding the earth. God’s disappointment and sadness and grief brought a flood of tears and the waters rose carrying Noah and his family both human and animal across new seas. But God never once asked the people to be different. God didn’t communicate or call it to their attention. God didn’t even send Noah through the streets to say, Change, Repent; look at what you are doing to one another.  God just cried and cried and cried.


It took almost a half a year for the waters to recede enough. God cried a lot.


The ark finally landed on a mountain top.  Noah and his family both human and animal finally came forth.   And there in the sky God placed a beautiful promise; a beautiful rainbow of hope.  It was a sign for the future that God would ask and talk with humanity.  It was a sign to humanity to talk and communicate kindly with one another.  It was a sign that the world might change for the better so that there would be no flood that would destroy the earth ever again.  The rainbow is a sign that all people matter.  God understood it then and let’s hope that we understand it now.


The rainbow is that sign for us today-the sign of hope that even in a world when people can be cruel and brutal and violent we can change. We must change. We must talk and talk kindly to one another and respect all of life.


In memory of Tyler Clementi, Raymond Chase, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas and Seth Walsh and the countless young people who have died as a result of bullying for being gay or lesbian.