So many issues! So many questions! This week’s portion is a feast of issues. From the Flood to the Rainbow to the dynamics of Noah’s sons (9) to the challenges brought to us with the story of the Tower of Babel (11). We can begin at 6:9 with the opening statement that Noah was an ish tzadik a righteous, just. blameless man “ in his age/generation…who “walked with God”. What does that mean? Was he the best of the worst? Is there one standard for judging one’s “righteousness” or must we judge a person over and aginst their time and generation?
There is a question that I wish to raise with you this Shabbat. It flows from this portion. Life, at times and often randomly, floods us with issues and challenges. No doubt, as many look back, we can recount those times in our life that we felt flooded with issues and emotions that overwhelmed us. We may have felt adrift in a sea of change, concern and challenge. In those moments, what was your ark? What saved you? What provided shelter, support, even salvation? Was it your community? Was it your faith, your family, your friends or the inner voice that kept you focused?
Like wise, as we have matured, has that “ark” changed? Is what “saved” us in our youth the same as what we seek today? Each of us, in our own way, needs an ark. Each of us needs someone or someplace or something that, in moments of crises, when we feel flooded and overwhelmed with life, we can go.
What is your ark? What saves you from the flood of life? Once again the text speaks to us asking questions of meaning. How can we answer?
Rabbi Richard F AddressNoa
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.