Beresheet (Genesis) 6:9–11:32
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1–55:5
As I was reading this week’s parashah, there were two main things on which I was reflecting. The first is that our world can change overnight, in an instant; the second is that everything we do every single day matters.
In Genesis 6:11, we read about the condition of the earth before the flood:
Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.
It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word in this verse for “violence” is “חָמָֽס” (“Hamas”) which can mean evil doings or robbing with violence and oppression. We see this reality nowadays through a terror organization called “Hamas”. Strange coincidence? Not likely.
God saw the evil condition of the earth and told Noah it was time to make a change; He then instructed Noah to build the ark. As we know, Noah built it faithfully until the day that God told him:
Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this generation.
From that moment, Noah’s world changed into a new reality…
Here in Israel, on October 7, 2023, we woke up to a new reality when the Hamas terror organization fulfilled its destiny committing the most heinous, murderous, and monstrous acts the world has seen since the Holocaust. Indeed, this world will never be the same since this satanic attack on God’s people.
Which leads me to my second point. I feel like I caught a glimpse into what Noah must have felt on the ark, watching the world he knew slowly change forever. Even though Scripture does not indicate how Noah and his family felt as they saw God’s judgment descend on this world, I am sure that while they were thankful, they also must have grieved the permanent loss of the world they knew.
For me, living in Israel, and witnessing the horrors which occurred in my beloved country, it is hard to accept and even imagine the level of evil that humans can reach. Even though we know from Scripture that very difficult times were in store for Israel, we Israelis never imagined that this could happen to us in our land. But it did - the seemingly impossible happened.
Many ask me nowadays how I am doing; my answer is always the same, “I am alive and I press on…” Despite the horrors that happened (and will happen as a result of war), I am thankful to be alive, and I am doing whatever I can to help those who are still alive, just like Noah did in the ark for his family and even for the animals that God entrusted to his care.
I also press on as I hold on to God’s beautiful promises found in our Haftarah portion this week:
“Shout for joy, infertile one, you who have not given birth to any child; break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor; for the sons of the desolate one will be more numerousthan the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD. “Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare them; lengthen your ropes and strengthen your pegs. For you will spread out to the right and to the left. and your descendants will possess nations and will resettle the desolate cities. “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and no longer remember the disgrace of your widowhood. For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the LORD of armies; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth. For the LORD has called you, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting favor I will have compassion on you,” Says the LORD your Redeemer.
“For this is like the days of Noah to Me, when I swore that the waters of Noah would not flood the earth again; so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you nor rebuke you. For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My grace will not be removed from you, nor will My covenant of peace be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you.”
I find my comfort and hope in the God who will bring His restoration to Israel and to this world. Yes, it is indeed the same God of Noah, who is and who is to come.
May He open the eyes of our people and of this broken world to see this truth.
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