• Gabbai

Noah – Holding God’s Hand at Every Step

Noah was complex character. The Torah labels him as simple and perfect. At the same time it implies that only relative to his generation he was righteous and virtuous – there are different views taken on Noah’s righteousness, some asserting that he was indeed righteous to the extent that he would be righteous anywhere and in any time. Others take a dimmer view of Noah, asserting that only in his corrupt and evil generation he stood out as righteous, but objectively he was nothing to write home about.

We will ignore for now the periods before and during the flood, both of which illustrate elements of Noah’s character. We will instead look at the aftermath. When the waters receded the ark came to rest on solid ground. Noah proceeded to raise his periscope in order to ascertain the conditions of the world outside the ark. He first sent the raven, but when the raven failed to cooperate he sent the dove. At first the dove could not find a place to rest, and after flying around a bit the dove returned to the ark. During its second reconnaissance mission the dove brought back an olive branch, indicating that the world’s natural habitat was beginning to recover. Noah sent the dove a third time and it did not return, having found the environment sufficiently restored to support life outside the ark.

Noah then removed the cover of the ark and saw that the ground had dried. But Noah did not then leave the ark. He waited for God’s instruction to leave the ark. This was forthcoming, as God ordered Noah, “Leave the ark, you and your wife, your sons and their wives with you.” (Genesis 8:16) All the living creatures were also released from the ark to re-establish their kind and develop the population of the earth.

One cannot help but ask, why did Noah wait for explicit instructions to leave the ark? Why did he not disembark im