Friday, October 23, 2009

The Story Continues...

Another ark to build, PART TWO here...see excerpts below.  Thank you to Sharon Astyk.

"The ark was not politically feasible, it was merely necessary. Had Noah had something less than the voice of G-d to order him, or had he required the aid and consent of his neighbors, what are the odds that the ark would have been built? Even had Noah been the driving force alone, it is hard to imagine the completion of the ark – how does an agrarian farmer otherwise find the time to build so vast a creation, to begin, as we are told, from the planting of the cedar trees that would make the boat possible, and go forward. In the face of uncertainty, he must have faltered. The ark could only be possible because it is so very necessary."

"The reality is the same, and we are choosing, even if we choose to pretend there is no choice. No matter how little we like the choices we are given, they are our choices - ark or drowning. The rain falls whether we choose to believe it will fall or not. The consequences of our actions exist whether they are politically feasible or not. The deaths of human beings, alive, beloved of G-d are on our hands whether we choose to acknowledge them or not. We betray G-d in our rejection of his material realities, and in our rejection of G-d’s moral realities.

In a basic sense all of the first portion of the Torah can be said to say this – we are a creation of G-d. We are part and parcel of creation, bound by the same laws – physical and moral – as the rest of it. We owe a share and a responsibility to others – to other human beings, to the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and all of the creatures that G-d pronounced “tov.” Neither our moral responsibility – to save lives, rather than take them, to protect animals rather than destroy them, to love one another as G-d loves us, to preserve the land rather than rape it – nor the laws of physics are up for discussion.

The story of Noah and Isaiah 54 promise us that G-d will never again turn his face from us – no matter how angry at the destruction we wreak. No matter how sorrowful, at the harm we do to ourselves and our children. No matter how much pain we give G-d, G-d will watch, and his face will be turned towards us, like a father to angry teenagers, like a mother to children that no longer want her.

Now is our chance – perhaps our very last chance to live in a world that bears any resemblance at all to the one in which human beings learned their first and most profound lessons. We too have to choose – will we keep our faces turned to G-d, and live with our material realities, pay any price, do whatever is needed to preserve our future and fulfill our responsibilities? Or will we turn away finally, and entirely from G-d, leaving ourselves with an empty faith, divorced from the world into which we were created, and so far distant from G-d that we cannot see if G-d weeps, for the rain that is coming down."

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