Noah Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion
This Week’s Torah Portion | October 15 – October 21, 2017 – 25 Tishrei – 1 Cheshvan, 5778
TORAH : GENESIS 6:9-11:32
PROPHETS : ISAIAH 66:1-24
GOSPEL : LUKE 1:5-80
From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. All texts are those of English translations of the Scriptures.
This Friday/Saturday (October 20-21) will be Rosh Chodesh—the “head” of the Eighth Hebrew month. Today, Hebrew calendars use the Babylonian name Cheshvan. In ancient times the Canaanite name Bul was used, as in I Kings 6:38 where, after seven years, Solomon completed the House of the LORD in Jerusalem.
Let us ask God for grace over this new month—for vision, instruction, courage and love and attentiveness to His ways! To bring to completion all those tasks whose time of fulfillment is come.
The reading for this week October 15-21, 2017 is called No’ach (the “ch” pronounced in the throat, as with “Bach”—“Noah”.
*Shabbat Rosh Chodesh—Because this Shabbat falls on Rosh Chodesh for the eighth month (Cheshvan/Bul), in many synagogues a special Haftarah reading will be substituted: Isaiah 66:1-24, 23.
*Genesis 6:9. “Noah was a just man, perfect (or, “blameless”) in his generations; Noah walked with God.”
“Perfect” or “blameless” are translations of the Hebrew word tome, which may, as in Psalm 25:21, also be rendered “integrity”: “Let integrity and uprightness guard me for I wait for you” (NKJV). In Psalm 101 David uses this word three times regarding his every-day walk within his house, “I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house. I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away, it shall not cling to me…My eyes shall be upon the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me” (Psalm 101:2-4, 6).
Even as Noah, living in a perverse and exceedingly sinful world, was through his “walk with God” enabled to govern his personal walk and that of his house with integrity, it is of paramount importance that those of us living in a time which is rapidly becoming “as it was in the days of Noah” hold close to our “walk with God”; that we in integrity ponder the way we walk, the things we allow access into our dwellings (and thence into our eyes and those of our families!), and with whom we associate and allow ourselves to be influenced.
*Genesis 6:11-13. “Now the earth had gone to ruin before God, the earth was filled with wrongdoing. God saw the earth, and here: it had gone to ruin, for all flesh had ruined its way upon the earth. God said to Noah: An end of all flesh has come before me, for the earth is filled with wrongdoing through them: here, I am about to bring ruin upon them, along with the earth” (Everett Fox translation; emphases ours).
Flesh, given its lead, brings ruin and destruction. As alluded to above, in the New Covenant, Yeshua prophesied that in latter days it will again be “as it was in the days of Noah”. Zechariah 2:11-13 instructs us regarding those days—as the LORD is “aroused from His holy habitation,” as Messiah draws near to “again take possession of Judah and to choose Jerusalem” —it will be imperative that we as Believers say “Hush!” (Hebrew: Hass! vs 13)to our flesh. Either we, in the power of the Holy Spirit, crucify it, or, as in the days of Noah, it will be our ruin.
*Genesis 6:14. “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms [or nests] in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.” The English word “ark” is used here for Hebrew teva which means a box or case (the word is used for ‘mailbox’ in Israel today). It is the same as that used to shelter the baby Moses in Exodus 2:3 (The “Ark of the Covenant” uses a different Hebrew word).
There is much redemption pictured here. The very Hebrew word translated “cover” and “pitch” (kopher) is identical with the word for atonement. In I Peter 3:18-22 the apostle Peter pictures the ark as a type of our salvation in Yeshua, our consciences being baptized through His death and resurrection!
*Genesis 7:15. “They (the animals) came to Noah into the ark…of all flesh in which is the spirit of life”.
*Genesis 9:4a. “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs“. (NKJV). God is the One who has now “given” humankind meat to eat, as well as plants. We are to honour each man’s conscience before God with regard to personal decisions to eat or not eat meat (Romans 14). However, it is difficult to reconcile with this Scripture the teachings of some who hold that God’s ideal for humankind today is the meatless sustenance afforded them in Eden and before the Flood. That was a season which has been taken away and may not, we suspect, be returned until the final “revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19-25).
*Genesis 9:4b. “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”
The word usually translated “life” in Hebrew is chaim. Yet here, the word nephesh—“soul” is used—“But you shall not eat flesh with its soul, that is, its blood.”
This will be reiterated in Leviticus 17:13-14, “Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; for it is the soul of all flesh. Its blood sustains its soul. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the soul of all flesh is its blood.”
In Genesis 2:7, “The LORD God formed man of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [i.e. chaim], and man became a living soul [i.e. nephesh]”. The animals also were called nephesh-chayah—“living souls” (1:24); they also were “formed by God” from the earth (2:19); but God did not release into them a creative act making them into His image as He did to the Man (1:26-27). So “soul” relates to a life-factor in the blood of living creatures—yet different in man from that in animals. We are not implying that the individual spirit of a human being is present in every drop of his blood. But blood carries life throughout the body, it is precious to the God of Life, and was not to be consumed as a nourishment-source for man. This is not just a prohibition under the Mosaic “Law” (Leviticus passage above); it was prohibited here to Noah and his descendants by God long before that Law, and it was prohibited for the Believing Body of Messiah (both Jew and Gentile) after the Lord’s return to heaven (Acts 15:20).
When Cain murdered Abel, the “voice of [his] brothers blood cried out” to God from the ground.
The soul that sins must die. All have sinned, so death reigns in the very blood-line of all children of Adam—Except for One. The Blood of the virgin-born Saviour, the “Second Adam”, Yeshua, was pure and without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Thus, it could “sprinkle many nations” (Isaiah 52:15) with a “sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24). God made “His soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10)—and with the shedding of His blood, “He poured out His soul (nephesh) unto death” and “bore the sin of many” (53:12).
*Genesis 10:25. “To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided…” The word may mean “split apart”, “broken away into sections.” Some have suggested that this may actually allude to a period in which certain of the continental shiftings discernible on modern-day maps took place. Which might explain why, for instance, the four rivers branching out from the large one coming out of Eden (Genesis 2:10-14) no longer appear to be in that same relation to each other. Some even suggest that before this shifting, Eden was itself located where Jerusalem is today…making the place where the “First Adam” sinned the place where that sin was atoned for in the death of the “Second Adam” Yeshua. It is interesting that Jewish tradition teaches that Adam and Eve are both buried in Hebron, only 30 km south of Jerusalem on the plot of land purchased by Abraham (Genesis 23) as a burial place for Sarah, and which eventually held Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah.
This week’s reading from the prophet Isaiah is filled with God’s heart and merciful plan for His people Israel. Ask God to use these verses to help in your prayers. Pray that the souls of those who hear them read in synagogues this weekend will be quickened with divine revelation! Pray that Israel will know that she is loved, that she will be convicted of her sin and need for a Redeemer, that she will understand that the LORD Himself is her only Redeemer and that her righteousness comes from Him!
*Isaiah 54:5. “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.” The God of all the earth has sovereignly chosen to identify Himself with the name He gave to his servant Jacob—Israel. Nations or religions which will not humble themselves to acknowledge this “identification” will find themselves standing against the very God of all nations and the universe itself.
*Isaiah 54:7-10. “‘For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,’ says the LORD, your Redeemer. ‘For this is like the waters of Noah to Me, For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of shalom be removed,’ says the LORD who has mercy on you”.
*Isaiah 54:13-15. “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me, whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.”
*Isaiah 54:17. “‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,’ says the LORD.”
*Isaiah 55:1-3. “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David.”
[The readings for next week (22-28 October) are called Lekh Lekha—“Go Forth, Yourself!”. TORAH: Genesis 12:1—17:27; HAFTARAH: Isaiah 40:27—41:16.]
In A Nutshell
The portion, Noah, speaks of sinful people and the Creator, who brings a flood on the world. “Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations” (Genesis, 6:9). This is why he was the one chosen to survive the flood.
But he did not survive alone. Rather, he was commanded to build an ark and move into it along with his kin, and pairs of all the animals, and to remain in the ark for forty days and forty nights until the flood stopped.
The Creator made a covenant with Noah and his family that the flood would never return. As a token of the covenant, He placed the rainbow in the sky.
The end of the portion speaks of the tower of Babel, about the people who decided to build a tower whose head reaches the heaven. The Creator decided to confuse their language so they would not understand one another, and then He dispersed them throughout the country.
The portion, Noah, is long, intense, and contains many details and many events compared to other portions. As this portion takes place in the beginning of the Torah, it also marks the beginning of the spiritual path, the most important time in a person’s development.
These initial stages unfold quite quickly, unlike subsequent events, when one begins the actual corrections and corrects one’s qualities meticulously. Later on, the events are far more detailed, as we will see in the future events unfolding in the Torah.
Our development takes place entirely over our egotistical will to receive, which we must turn into bestowal. Today we are still in the midst of a process where the whole of humanity is to begin to work with its ego in the right connection between people. The work against the ego is always a big problem, and appears as waves of a great sea, called Malchut of Ein Sof (Malchut of infinity).
Each time, the ego surfaces more and more, and at first, a person does not know what to do, so the only option is to hide in a box, an ark. It is not merely an escape; it is a correction. A person builds a kind of bubble, the quality of bestowal, and hides in it from all of one’s terrible egotistical qualities, and this is how one advances.
All along the manifestation of the ego, in each and every detail, the person walks into the ark in which one adjusts one’s corrections in order to rise above one’s ego and to avoid using it. In the ark, the person disconnects from the surrounding world, where terrible things are happening, and the self-centered desires ferociously bang on the ark’s hull, attempting to pull a person into all sorts of places and directions, into the depths of the sea. And yet, the person remains in the ark, focused on the desire to remain in the quality of bestowal.
The stay in the ark lasts forty days and forty nights. This is the difference between Malchut and Bina, because the whole of Malchut, all the desires, are included in Bina. A person checks oneself using the crow, but the crow does not return an answer. The dove, however, does return an answer because it is from the side of Rachamim (mercy), from the right, from the side of peace.
When a person receives the answer that all of one’s desires are controlled by the quality of bestowal, it is a sign that one has passed the flood. It is an indication that all of one’s desires and qualities, which are called “one’s kin,” the family that is in the ark, have passed the first stage of correction, and are now able to continue with the corrections. The purpose of the whole process, this flow, is for a person to correct one’s egotistical, broken soul, into a state where it is in complete equivalence of form, in Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, in pure bestowal.
When a person goes out to the air, to the dry land, the Creator says that He will make a covenant with the person, pertaining to everything that one is about to undergo. The covenant is for the future, when similar events might occur, so that one will know that one can use the forces one has used in the past.
The covenant testifies that we cannot correct ourselves and that we are compelled to use the same forces from the past. This is why we do not like the token of the rainbow in the sky. Let us assume that we are in a quarrel, and we remember that we used to be friends. Then, for the sake of the past relationship, we make peace again. Thus, the rainbow—the covenant—is not a good sign; it marks our entrance into a time of weakness, where further troubles are ahead, for which we will need it, because we will have to advance with it in any case.
Noah’s time is the beginning of the development of new times. There are ten generations from Adam to Noah, which are ten Sefirot, and there are ten generations (Sefirot) from Noah to Abraham. There are many qualities in a person that grow and come out until one recognizes one’s own egotistical qualities once more. It seems as though one forgets the qualities of bestowal that one was in while in the ark, and one can no longer cover them with Hassadim, the quality of Hesed (mercy) and with love of others, to be as one family as it was with Noah in the ark, when the whole world was as a family. At that time everyone was under the canopy of Hassadim, under a canopy of love, collaborating in mutual guarantee.
Now the egotistical desires are growing once more within a person and lead one back to Babel—a state where one sees one’s ego soaring, attempting to have everything and to control everything. The great egoist who controls the person is Nimrod, who is willing to do anything. Nimrod wants to know only the present and the future, and does not mind bowing to idols. He needs to control the person’s life; he does not want to be above, in the quality of bestowal, but only in the quality of reception, as we can see in our world today.
Everything that happened at that time had to happen because of the rule, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice” (Kidushin, 30b), because “the light in it reforms them.” In other words, we need to discover the evil in us, and from that revelation of evil we will discover its antidote, since we will not want to remain in the evil. This is why we need to obtain the light that reforms, the special light that the wisdom of Kabbalah tells us how to obtain so we may correct ourselves with it.
All the stories of the Torah prior to Noah’s time, such as that of Cain and Abel, describe the intensification of the ego. We learn about it from The Zohar, which tells us about the true meaning of the stories of the Torah. The Zohar tells us openly about what is implied in the Torah. It reveals to us what hides behind every human story, and what the Torah actually narrates. It is with good reason that the wisdom of Kabbalah is called the “wisdom of truth.”
The Torah speaks of our souls, about how we must bring it out of hiding. We must discover the soul on all the degrees of its Aviut, at every stage of its shattering, and we must correct it. Within the corrected soul, we must feel our spiritual lives and remain in them, as it is written, “You will see your world in your life” (Berachot, 17a). We must discover the spiritual world, the Creator, the “me” that is found in the spiritual world, and we must do it here and now, while we are in this world.
However, to enter the next world we must first discover our broken soul. In this process, the soul grows on the left line. This means that over the ten generations from Adam to Noah, great desires of the will to receive develop in it. At the stage in which we finish with the left line—following the Creator’s decision—the right line comes along and begins to correct the left. The left line is the corrupted, broken Malchut, while the right line is the quality of Bina, the qualities of bestowal, qualities of love, giving, and mercy.
Subsequently, ten new generations arrive, the ten Sefirot from Noah to Abraham—intended to correct the previous generations from Adam to Noah—meaning ten Sefirot of Ohr Yashar and ten Sefirot of Ohr Hozer. Abraham comes after those twenty generations and receives the beginning of the soul at a level where he can already understand and recognize the purpose. This is why he breaks the statues and begins to fight against his own big ego, which appears to him as Nimrod, as Babylon. With Nimrod on the left, and Abraham on the right, a person begins to fight for the correction of the soul.
All these names and incidents describe what happens to the soul of each of us. The Torah speaks of what each one should go through, and we gradually discover how we actually go through those stages.
Is a flood a bad thing? Today, words such as “tsunami” and “flood” arouse terror.
It is bad in spirituality, too. A flood implies “evil waters,” Gevurot. Water is essentially Hassadim, but when connected to an ego that controls it, it becomes dangerous water.
In this story, as well as in the story of the tower of Babel, we learn that the Creator decided to confuse the people; He caused them to sin, and then seemingly punished them.
Of course, nothing happens without Him, “there is none else besides Him.” What matters is how one reacts, accepts, and partakes in what is happening. In each situation, we must be His partners, and understand His works. It is like a mother playing with her baby. The mother wants the baby to understand her and play with her as she is playing with her baby. Therefore, of course the Creator is behind the whole process, but the question is whether a person knows how to react to it correctly at each moment.
Can we react like that baby?
If we look at babies, we will see that they are never at rest. They are constantly striving to grasp the world, examining and learning from it. Childhood is the time of building the man, the time of man’s corrections. After age twenty, everyone begins to grow old and dwindle.
The phases one goes through—the evil water, Noah, and Abraham—put one in terrible restlessness. But in the end everyone will have to go through it.
We go through all those stages in order to correct the soul within us. The whole Torah, from “In the beginning” to “Israel,” is written for us, so that we will experience it in our inner work. When we correct the soul, we enter the next world.
What is Noah’s Ark, and how does one enter it?
The ark is the quality of Bina. We are told how Bina is built, what are her qualities, how the Sefirot, GAR of Bina and ZAT of Bina, connect—meaning the first three Sefirot, Keter, Hochma, and Bina, and then the seven lower Sefirot, Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. We are also told about the three parts of Bina—the one that belongs to the upper one, the one that belongs to Bina herself, and the one that belongs to the lower ones. Bina is a quality that receives from above, and builds herself in order to pass on downward, like a mother who receives from the father and turns what she received into something suitable for the baby.
What does being in Bina mean?
Being in Bina means receiving the upper illumination. Everything comes from the influence of the upper light, and we cannot find it by ourselves or within ourselves. A person who receives this illumination from within feels that he is inside a special force, that the ego cannot harm or deflect one from the path. The person is completely protected there, as though one is in a bubble, in a box. It is still not attainment, since the person is inside the box like a baby in the womb, but then it opens the womb and the person is born.
Once a person is born, he or she discovers that the ego has grown tremendously. This is already the time of Babylon. In the state of Babylon, Nimrod and Abraham grow within.
Initially, Abraham is controlled by Nimrod. But when he sees that his ego is working against him and he must break free, Abraham exits Nimrod’s authority and tries to establish his quality of Hesed as the ruler of the ego. Although he cannot currently do it, since he must disconnect himself from it, he escapes and turns toward the land of Canaan.
What does the tower of Babylon stand for then and now?
The tower of Babel is the ego that appears in us, smothering us and not allowing us live. On the one hand there is Nimrod, who wants to grow as high as the sky; on the other hand there is Abraham, who sees it is impossible.
In that state, they part ways: the majority of the qualities follow the ego, with Nimrod, and the qualities that can be cut off from the “cake” of the tower of Babel—and be corrected by Abraham—are Abraham’s qualities, which a person begins to correct. These qualities join the journey toward the land of Canaan, in the partial correction of the soul.
Today, nearly 4,000 years later, we—the “descendants of Abraham” and the “descendents of Nimrod”—are reassembling to create a joint connection. We have built the tower of Babel once again, being the global financial and economic empire, and while on the one hand everything is falling apart, on the other, we, the “descendants of Abraham,” are trying to do something to correct it. So far, however, no one is listening.
Today we have no choice because we are past the whole process that The Book of Zohar details. We must complete the correction, and now Abraham must govern Babylon, the ego.
Today the world’s powers do not think about changing man, only about changing the economic and financial systems in a way that will only satisfy the ego even more. They do not think beyond it, not even as it was at the time of Noah—entering a bubble of mutual bestowal and avoiding contact with the ego. They do not think of ceasing the wars and the competition because their only interest is to profit out of it. To date, none of them are ready to listen, since the financial system is a projection of our egotistical connections, hence all the crises along the way. All we can do is learn a great deal from it.
The current crisis is the last one because it describes the totality of the egotistical connections between us, which are about to break down. The message of unity can be circulated when many people talk about the crisis and its cause. It is possible that this period will end well, but it is also possible that it will decline into a war; it depends on the people on Abraham’s side.
So we are the “addition” to the tower of Babel?
We belong to Abraham’s group, the one that left Babylon and moved with Abraham to the land of Canaan. The others, the egoists, belong to the group that came from Nimrod, from Babylon. We must go through this period of the last recognition of evil, which is the war of Gog and Magog, after which we will achieve the final correction of the common soul.
Does the confusion of the languages mark the collapse of the financial system?
The confusion of the languages has been here since Babylon and until now because the singular, great ego shattered into myriad pieces, to all its inclinations, and each part leans and pulls to itself. The external manifestation of it is the confusion of the languages.
And the Lord Smelled the Sweet Savor
“After the flood, ‘I will not again,’ since now the revelation of the evil has been completed, for I no longer need to add fire to disclose the Din (judgment), for the evil has been revealed sufficiently. ‘For the inclination in a man’s heart is evil from his youth,’ and he must not be scolded, and all of the Creator’s punishments are but corrections.”
Zohar for All, Noah, item 243
“And all of the Creator’s punishments are but corrections.” If a person truly relates to life this way, and wishes to discover that everything happens for the purpose of correction, one should only know how to take part, how to make oneself part of this flow, even if just a little, in order to suddenly discover a spiritual life, filled with abundance.