Parashat Noach

Who is Noah?


We know he was a simple man, yes.


We know that he was a righteous man in HIS generation, and that surely in another one he would not have been considered as righteous, according to some commentators. This would mean that a fairly fair person, in a corrupt generation like that, would stand out as very fair. Rashi assures that to be fair in a corrupt generation like that one, it should have been REALLY fair, so as not to "catch it" from the people around.


We also know something that is definitely not good. We know that it was a person who in the 120 years that the construction of the ark lasted, not a single occasion is known in which he has approached his fellow men to try to correct their attitude by which the Creator was going to destroy them.


There is much that we are not told about Noah and we do not know.


When we see scenes of the Ark painted in paintings or sculptures or drawings, we usually see happy faces of humans and animals that coexist in an adventure of almost incredible camaraderie.


To think that life on the Ark was something pleasant is clearly a mistake. Even if the animals had been in a state specially created for the occasion, the mere fact of mixing aromas, feces, foods, etc etc, makes the adventure a situation far removed from any imaginable pleasant navigation.

If we add the fact of the differences in the habits of the different animals, we could infer that Noah and his family slept very little, and had a very bad time.

Why should it be this way? Why not reward the Ish Tzadik bedorotav (a righteous man of his generation) with a survival more commensurate with the title he was awarded?


Let us consider that the Ark itself was not a pleasure boat, with windows to observe the sky and sunsets, nor the glass bottom to appreciate the marine fauna. In fact, it was a kind of closed tube that according to the text had a kind of skylight (Tzohar) through which some light entered.


Rashi interprets the word Tzohar as a precious stone. It would be something like a precious prism that multiplied the light inside the Ark, if we want to see it with good eyes and good intention.


But there are those who interpret that what he was doing was not allowing the light to enter the interior in its entirety. Changing the real light to a distorted one.


Noah was controversial in his attitude towards his surroundings, and he always was. Noah locked himself in his mission protected by his own Tzohar, not letting the blessing that he and his family would receive spread to others. Locked up in his family, he did not even question or raise with the Creator the possibility of adding people to salvation.


This could be the reason that the adventure they had to live was not pleasant. There was much to learn about dedication to the other beings of the Ark, of caring for those who needed each one of them, of realizing that what the tzohar allowed to pass on the Ark was not always reality and that one had to learn to interpret what was shown to them meddling with the beings that surrounded them in order to see the reality of the situations.


Exactly what they did not do with the destroyed generation that surrounded them before the flood. Noah and his family had to open their eyes to the world.


We can lock ourselves in our castles of wellness and our cruises of abundance. We can make ourselves insensitive to those who need us to participate in some way to achieve a common good for all. We can settle for what the different prisms allow us to see of the reality that surrounds us, allowing ourselves to be fooled with false images of power, influences and banalities.


Or we can wake up and support each other to achieve what should be the good of all with a more certain future, with more people involved, more people supporting each other and with strengthened ties.


You choose whether to lock yourself in your Ark or enjoy the outside world with all the good and bad it offers us.


Gustavo Geier