Noah was a righteous man of his generation, an exception to the rule. Therefore, God told him to save himself from the oncoming flood by building an ark to shelter him and the animals which would survive to repopulate the world.
After rain lasting 40 days and nights and a further 150 days of swelling waters a wind blew, and the waters began to go down.
Noah sent out a raven and later a dove. Neither found anywhere to rest until Noah once more sent out a dove and this time it returned with a torn olive leaf in its mouth.
The dove then left the ark for good and Noah followed suit, sacrificing animals in thanksgiving. God promised to never again to destroy the earth and set seasons to regulate the natural cycle.
God then blessed Noah and his family with fertility to have children and taught Noah the universal Noahide Code.
Those Scriptural commands include to never eat a limb of a living creature or to unlawfully take human life.
The Covenant also instructs respect for and worship of God the Creator and not of idolatry; to be faithful to one’s spouse, not to steal and to maintain a system of law.
The rainbow was shown to Noah as a sign of the Covenant. Noah planted a vineyard and became drunk. His middle son, Ham published news to his brothers Shem and Japheth that their father was naked. The brothers modestly covered their father. On sobering up, Noah cursed Ham through his son Canaan and blessed Shem and Japheth.
Noah lived 950 years; he is the ancestor of billions of descendants and the father of the universal Noahide Code of law and practice.
Rabbi Ariel Abel is Padre to HM Army Cadet Forces and Rabbi of Princes Road Synagogue.