Noah and The Flood
Home Run Shabbat
The weekly Torah portion NOACH, the second portion in the Book of Bereshit/Genesis, is well known to all. Young children in our religious school have learned at a very young age about Noah, his unnamed wife, and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet. Noah is immediately identified as “a righteous man, in his generation, he was above reproach; Noah walked with G-d.” 6:9-10.
Noah is considered to be good and righteous when compared to the corrupt, immoral, and violent people up to this early time in our history. G-d decides He wants to try again, but first He must purge the earth from the nasty people who now inhabit the planet! G-d promises to establish a new covenant, a new “Brit” with Noah, his family, and his descendants. G-d commands Noah and his sons to bring representatives of all the animals into the huge ark he and his sons have just completed, following G-d’s directives. Soon the rains come, the surface of the earth is flooded, the ark is lifted by the water, and humanity is wiped out. The rain pours down for forty days, the flood waters are released, and the earth is covered with water for 150 days!
The waters eventually drain away, and the ark comes to rest on Mount Ararat. Noah sends out a raven first, then a dove, to see if there is dry land. After coming back to the ark with a branch, the dove does not return, and Noah releases his family and all the animals to begin life on earth once more.
Ultimately, human descendants build the Tower of Babel to reach the heavens. G-d does not look with favor on this Tower, and He causes confusion in the multiple languages that mankind has evolved.
The destruction of the earth by a primordial flood is reported many times throughout ancient history. In the Ancient Near East, the Babylonians told the story of their flood hero in a long epic poem found on ancient tablets. The Gilgamesh Epic resembles the Torah story of Noah very much.
The differences in the Gilgamesh tale and the saga of Noah helps us understand what the Torah wants us to learn about G-d’s values and our behavior. The flood in the Gilgamesh poem has no connection to the good nor bad behavior of the gods, goddesses, or people. Noah teaches us that our fate is the result of our ethical acts! If we violate G-d’s ethical and moral teachings, we will be punished and destroyed, just as all of humanity was destroyed because they were evil.
This linkage is the innovation of the Torah alone!
This Friday evening, our Phillies are playing the first game of the World Series, and many of us are thinking about the play-by-play broadcast! Right here, in our main sanctuary, we are participating in our own World Series first game as we install Rabbi Benjamin David as our new Senior Rabbi, our new field manager! Many components of our Jewish musical community are participating with great energy and intense joy.
Cantor Amy Levy, batting leadoff, will lead the prayers and sing several solos. Andrew Senn, batting second, will accompany the service on the KI organ and piano with great artistry and gusto!
Shir KI, our Adult Choir and professional quartet, will bat third and will sing several joyous compositions. We shall reprise the Hasidic song, Kol Haolam Kulo, by Baruch Chait requested by Rabbi David on Rosh Hashanah. We shall sing a beautiful version of Y’varech’cha, the Priestly Benediction, by Max Janowski. We shall sing a fantastic medley about two Hasidic Rabbis, Der Rebbe Elimelech and Az der Rebbe Geht, arranged by Stanley Sperber. We shall sing an Israeli song, Ani V’ata, a favorite of Rabbi David, arranged by Joshua Jacobson. “I and you, together, we can change the world!” This song is a great blessing to offer our new Senior Rabbi.
Ross M. Levy, talented husband of Cantor Levy, will hit cleanup and accompany major sections of the service on the guitar. He will sing a medley of camp songs, in tribute to Rabbi David’s long time involvement with Camp Harlam, along with his wife, Lisa David, who is the current director of Camp Harlam.
I am so proud to hit sixth in our KI Shabbat lineup as conductor and teacher of musical Torah!
Adam Guth will hit seventh and play percussion.
Brian Rissinger will hit eighth as our general manager, director of operations, and PA announcer.
Rounding out our lineup is Sleen, batting ninth, and taking care of our field and grounds.
I am absolutely sure that all our participants will hit gigantic KI home runs, as mighty as those hit by Bryce Harper!!
The Installation Service begins at 7 pm, promptly! All the Tilman’s wish you Shabbat Shalom U’m’vo-rach. GO PHILLIES!