Beginning with Noach and ending with a genealogy that introduces us to Abram, this week’s Torah portion, Noach, the second in Genesis, let’s us know that God is willing to continue in relationship with humankind, even in the face of disappointment. Noah was a righteous man in his generation (Gen.6:9) and is chosen, along with his family, to survive the flood and repopulate the earth. Another example of human misbehavior in this week’s Torah portion is the Tower of Babel. An affront to Divine authority, God’s punishment is to confuse their speech and scatter them over the face of the earth (Gen. 11:7-8). Yet, humankind is allowed to go on.
Realizing that punishment and forgiveness are not mutually exclusive, we see that God is willing to accept humanity with all its flaws, and hopes that we will learn and improve over time. From humankind’s perspective, we see that life can have its challenges, but that faith in God, who will forgive, can inspire us to change for the better, and sets an example of how we should treat others.
Rabbi Sandra M. Bellush