Texts: Genesis 6:9 – 11:32 || Isaiah 54:1 – 55:5 (Haftarah)
NOTE: Kol HaTor, in its commentaries on the weekly Parashot, endeavours to search for and accentuate the Torah Messages contained in the Parashot as applicable to the main Theme of Tanach of the Return of the House of Israel, i.e. the Lost Ten Tribes of Northern Israel and their Reconciliation with Judah to form the reunited 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel.
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Introduction – Setting the scene for our Review
In Parashat Bereisheet we reviewed the vastness of the span of the Universe. We arrived at the staggering, revealing conclusion from various sources, that the Creator, the God of Israel, had made it all “for the sake of His People” – the crown of His Creation – Humanity – male and female, husband and wife (Gen. 1:27). Theirs was the duty and obligation to “manage” the earth and all its creation. (Gen. 1:28).
Deeper contemplation on this overwhelming prospect of God’s Intent for humanity, confronts us with the awesome concept that the Creator intends to bring humanity into a form of co-opted rule of the earth – with Him! We highlighted from last week’s Haftarah portion the Divine promises for 10-Israel and Judah in this regard:
1 “But now thus said HaShem – Who created you, O Jacob, Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I will redeem you; ,,. You are Mine “.. 4 Because you are precious to Me, And honored, and I love you “.. 5 “Fear not, – I will bring your folk from the East, – Will gather you out of the West; 6 I will say to the North, “Give back!” And to the South, “Do not withhold! Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the end of the earth 7 All who are linked to My name, Whom I have created, Formed, and made for My glory”
Just consider this: We have raised up these awesome concepts all from reviewing the very first verse of the Bible Reading ONLY! Bereisheet, the first of the 52 weekly Bible Readings, spans the first 6 chapters of Genesis in the Bible. This represents many centuries of history over a span of 10 generations until Noah – our 2nd Parashah – which entails another 6 chapters covering many centuries until Avraham. Surely, the Bible is as vast as the encompassment of the immeasurable Universe out there in Space! Yet, we see patterns in it, as with this division of the first two Parashot.
This vastness notwithstanding, we find frail mankind so often arrogantly exalting itself over the Divinely appointed teachers of Torah, i.e. the Rabbinic Order (Gen. 49:10 – read more about this here). This attitude is rampant today amongst the “re-awakening” remnants of God’s rejected Bride – which, in His Great Love, He vowed to receive back at the Conclusion of this Dispensation or era. With one vile stroke these “know betters” then wipe the testimony and interpretations of this 3500 year old Academy of higher learning which establishes its foundations right back to Moses, off the table. They then present their own interpretations as “the real Truth” – while most of them have not passed even pre-school levels of Hebrew, the language which the Bible was written in!
In our commentaries therefore, we will concentrate on Jewish Rabbinic interpretation only, though on more of a futuristic, Prophetic basis. We will therefore lay great emphasis and value on the Haftarah portions of the weekly Readings, which are generally from the prophetic Books of the Tanach (derogatorily called the “Old Testament” by Christians). It is evident that the selection of these parallel sets of Readings, since ancient times, were inspired by divine Guidance to provide a “spot light” on the Torah portions and their inherent meanings and time settings for mankind – and especially for His People.
Instructive Guidelines underlying the pattern set by these two introductory Parashot
In the first Parashah, Bereisheet, we find Creation completed. At the end of His Creation on the 6th day. “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” Yet, within days, the very ones for whom He had made all, disappointed Him – and they were set out of the Garden of Eden and hardships pronounced over them. Yet His Eternal Promises and long-term Intention remained.
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The following 10 generations of this first Adamic dispensation saw the degeneration of mankind – all because God created man with a free choice to choose Good or Evil. The 1st Parashah ends with the sad observation:
Gen. 6:5-8: “HaShem saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 HaShem regretted that He had made human beings on the earth, and His heart was deeply troubled. 7 So HaShem said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created — and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground – for I regret that I have made them.”
Yet. He did not discard His Eternal Promise and Intention, for Noah found favour in His eyes and God would use him to safeguard and ongoing remnant of mankind and all the animals. Noah alone in his generation was upright and righteous, fighting against the tide of his entire generation. He maintained the religious truths handed down from Adam: belief in the One G-d and obedience to His Law. Following God’s instructions, it took him 120 years to build an Ark which would house and save him and his direct family and pairs of two of each animal and bird, in the Flood that would engulf the earth and wipe out its evil generations.
We see in this a parallel with the dispensation that we are living in. The signs of mankind’s degeneration is all around us – a world of wars, moral depravity, rejection of the Living Creator, greed and increasing evil. Just like the pre-Noahide civilization, we are awaiting Divine retribution on mankind. Just like Noah must have been scoffed at for building an Ark on dry ground, with the Promised flood delayed for 120 years, so, centuries have passed without any confirmation of eventual retribution by a Living God.
“The Hebrew word for “ark”, teivah, also means “word”. “Come into the Word” says G-d; enter within the words of prayer and Torah study. Here you will find a sanctuary of wisdom, meaning and holiness amidst the raging floodwaters of life.” (Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, 1698-1760).
A striving segment in the world today, faithful to G-d’s Promises, are similarly surviving in the Ark of His Word. Amongst these also are Ten Tribers across the world who are reawakening to their Hebrew Roots and returning to the Original Truths of G-d’s Word, It should be clear that this Ark represents the One True Faith which had been guarded by Judah throughout the ages and not the hybrid religions that sprang up in downright rebellion against and usurping and replacement of the Original Hebrew faith. Yet, this Ark is open to anyone, of any nation, race or tribe who, like a Noah, wishes to maintain the religious truths handed down from Adam: belief in the One G-d and obedience to His Torah.
Rambam, in his commentary to Parashat Noah, writes a surprising conclusion about “all the animals, every beast, every creeping thing and every bird after its kind … two by two,” as follows: “and some of them – such as elephants, rams and others – are very large; likewise, the creeping things upon the earth are very many. Of the fowl of the heaven there are also innumerably many kinds, Noah was thus obligated to bring all of them into the ark in order that they may beget their like after the flood. Even if you could gather a full year’s supply of food for all of them, you would find that this ark and ten others like it could not hold it!”
The Rambam concludes: “Since an ark of some 150 meters could in no way contain all the animals and birds of the world, it is obvious that G-d made a miracle. A very large assembly was contained in a small space. If so, why bother Noah with the construction of the ark? Here, he toiled and worked for some 120 years. Every day he and his sons would go and gather wood, cut and shape it and construct the ark, working from sunup to sundown. If in any case there needed to be a miracle to house all the animals and fowl – let there just be a miracle and that would be that. Why trouble Noah so much?”
The Rambam answers, that miracles do not happen by themselves; first one must do his utmost – all in his power – and then, and only then, will G-d do His part.
(Rambam comments as reported by http://www.livestream.com )
This is something that re-identifying 10-Israel has to wake up to. Their Christian roots have generally left them in stagnant mode with a dependence on G-d to do it all for them. Noble as it may seem, they want to pray everything in. They depend on signs and miracles while they keep praying for while waiting actionless in their observation posts. Even though the Return of 10-Israel and their Reconciliation with Judah requires a Great Miraculous Intervention by HaShem, we have to labour faithfully and tirelessly. Like Noah, we have to persist against all the odds, even in the face of the grotesque impossibility of it all, for the eventual Happening. G-d can do it all by Himself, but, like a Noah, we actually qualify on the strength of our ACTIONS and persistence in Faith. If God could make the lamp oil last, as we commemorate in our Channukah celebrations, then He could make the food stocks last on the Ark for all the animals throughout the year in the Flood. He will make the Miracles IF we lay the ground work. Without our faithful labours and support, there will be NO Reconciliation, for G-d is not a Puppeteer. He not only intends to use those of us who will qualify in the End as co-rulers with Him in His Kingdom, but He also requires us to be co-workers with Him beforehand in achieving peace in Zion, in His Household and nation. In fact, in this way we shall be qualifying those who are to rule with Him.
That, seemingly, was His Intent with creating the Universe for our sake. By creating man with a FREE choice to serve Him or reject Him; by raising man through a process of overcoming ever increasing stumbling blocks, He is busy qualifying a leadership for His Kingdom who will rule in righteousness.
His other option at Creation would have been to create man righteous from the start and showering him with Blessings only. What kind of Rulers would that have provided?
The Noahide Dispensation
For the sake of one righteous man, Noah, G-d maintained His Intent with mankind. But, just like in Parashat Bereisheet, shortly after the Flood, the new human generations degenerated once again.
“As the population of the world expanded in the generations after Noah, man set himself a new goal: to unite in rebellion against G-d. “Let us build for ourselves a city and a tower with its head in the heavens and let us make for ourselves a NAME.” (ibid. 4).
Man wanted the “name” for himself — for his own glory — instead of giving all the glory to G-d. However, G-d confounded man — by sowing confusion through the very faculty that is uniquely man’s: namely speech. Instead of helping people to communicate with each other, the torrents of words they directed at one another simply led to incomprehension, misunderstanding, hatred and violence.”
“Human history is that of the rise and fall of civilizations. One after the other, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome reached the heights of power and arrogance, only to enter into decline — just as we see contemporary “civilization” in its decline, with the widespread breakdown of security, social order and moral integrity. The Parashah of NOAH teaches us about the global, ecological disaster that comes about in the wake of human arrogance, excess and immorality.”
(Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum, AZAMRA).
G-d has not given up thusfar on His Intent with mankind, i.e. to raise a righteous rulership who could rule with Him in His Kingdom.
In our next Parashah, we will be taken into the next Dispensational Metaphor, that of Avraham. To Him and His descendants God promised the Land of Israel, from where He will rule over the world, together with His People who will qualify.
A righteous G-d, faithful to His Intent
Our Haftarah (from the prophets) confirms G-d’s faithfulness to His original Intent,
“Sing, barren woman, [referring to His divorced Bride, 10-Israel?] you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.
4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5 For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 He will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit – a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. 7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.
9 “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. 10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says HaShem, who has compassion on you.”
Once again, that unfathomable Love that 10-Israel so often unwittingly and non-concernedly trample on!
Surely! – this Love deserves our reciprocation and every effort to conform to being a righteous Bride for Him? Shall we keep trampling on this Love? Shall we keep taking it for granted, in a mode of expectancy and receiving only? Surely, the least that we can do by way of thanksgiving, is to do something substantial to promoting His Great Cause? Are we really doing our best to show our gratitude? Or are we hiding behind the sanctimonious response that “there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation”? Would you like your own children to handle your love and gifts with such a one-sided expectancy on the receiving side only?
May the inspiration of these two Parashot serve to inspire us to assist in hastening the Redemption and perfecting of His Kingdom.