Sedra of the week: Noach
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here
Analysis

Sedra of the week: Noach

Senior Rebbetzen of Cranbrook United Synagogue, Siobhan Dansky, looks ahead to this week's portion of the Torah

Torah scroll (Photo by Tanner Mardis on Unsplash)
Torah scroll (Photo by Tanner Mardis on Unsplash)

Last week we restarted reading the entire Torah by recounting the stories of the creation of the world: Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel. 

This week’s portion, Noach, takes place a mere ten generations from Adam, and we are going to read about the complete obliteration of existence bar Noach, his family and enough samples of plant and animal life to repopulate the earth. 

What went so wrong that God felt it necessary to erase His entire creation in the manner of a global Etch A Sketch? The Torah gives us the answer when it says: “The earth became corrupt before God, and the earth had become filled with robbery” (Bereshit 6:11). 

 The commentator Rashi comments that “corrupt” means that the people were also worshipping idols and being immoral, but the Torah specifies robbery as it was this that sealed their fate and tipped the balance in favour of destruction. Why is stealing so bad that it required God’s new world to be destroyed?

 To look at the distribution of wealth, belongings or family and to decide that someone else’s lot should really be yours is tantamount to saying that God made a mistake when He allocated each person their share. To help oneself to someone else’s possessions shows the ultimate lack of respect to one’s neighbour as well as to God and undermines His ultimate knowledge and power to give each person exactly what he or she needs. 

 By contrast, the ark was the antidote that taught Noach and his family the lessons of kindness and giving each animal, person and plant exactly what they need according to God’s design in order that they should survive and go on to rebuild a new, better world. 

υ Siobhan Dansky is Senior Rebbetzen of Cranbrook United Synagogue

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments