Rabbi Eisen’s Shabbat Shalom Message

Shabbat Shalom!


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Click here for full text of the
Torah and Haftarah portions.


Candlelighting for
Friday, October 24, 2014 • 5:22pm

• Our Portion for the Week •

NOAH – GENESIS 6:9 – 11:32
In this portion, we read of the destruction of the world by the great flood and the re-creation of the world. By the tenth generation after Adam, human evil has sunk to such depths that God can no longer tolerate it, and the world must be purged of its corruption. Noah and his family alone, of all mankind, are saved along with seven pairs (male & female) of all clean animals and one pair of all unclean animals found on earth. The description of the flood is in many respects a reversal of the process of creation. When the waters subside and the occupants of the ark emerge on dry land, the narrative largely parallels the creation story. Noah is portrayed as the second Adam, but the world after the flood is a significantly different place. Although Noah's sons become the progenitors of a world full of people, the complete harmony of all creation is gone. This change is symbolized by the permission given to mankind to eat meat, albeit with the prohibition of eating the blood. God establishes the rainbow as the sign of His promise that the earth will never again be destroyed by flood. The account of the Tower of Babel shows how that unity is shattered by mankind's pride. God's plan is again thwarted, but this time He responds by narrowing His focus to one segment of mankind that will be the instruments of achieving His purpose. The reading concludes with an account of the line of Noah's son, Shem, which brings us – after ten generations – to Abraham and the birth of the Jewish People.

• Our Question for the Week •

Noah, the tiller of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and he uncovered himself within his tent.
(Genesis 9:20-21)

Why did Noah choose not only to plant a vineyard and to make wine, but to drink himself into a stupor? Was he trying to celebrate his survival or to blot out the images of destruction? Was he plagued by guilt or was he seeking relief from physical and emotional exhaustion?