Interfaith Noach

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Noah's in the house! We're looking at chapters 6:9 - 11:32 this week. A lot of stuff happening. It begins

"9. These are the generations of Noah, Noah was a righteous man he was perfect in his generations; Noah walked with God. 10. And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth."

And it ends:

"31. And Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter in law, the wife of Abram his son, and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan, and they came as far as Haran and settled there. 32. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran."

But for now, let's look at the story of Noah.

Once again we have a foundational myth which appears to be absolutely stuffed full of symbolisms. I can't pretend to understand all the stuff that's in this story, I guess that's why people spend their lives just studying Torah. There's a lot of number symbolism not only in the number of days between the events in the story, but in the geometry of the dimensions of the ark itself. I was wondering while rereading the story if the dimensions of the ark had some sort of merkavah-ish significance. Also, there are again a lot of sevens. Anytime I read a seven thing in the Torah books I try to look for a creation/sabbath significance. I was wondering why seven of the clean animals went into the ark, but then I saw at the end of the story that one of each was sacrificed, so that left three pairs to breed and eventually eat.

Another interesting thing that caught my eye was how Noah sends out a raven first, then a series of doves to see if the land is dry enough to be habitable. Ravens are generally symbolic of the ability to take a bad situation and find a way to make it work. It's kinda the "when life gives you lemons make lemonade" bird symbolically. Ravens also symbolize the common people. The raven goes out, but unlike the doves which return, it just keeps flying back and forth waiting for the water to dry up until it finds a place to land. It reminded me of the ravens who come to feed Elijah. It's just a little detail I hadn't noticed before.

I'm going to come back to the story of Noah but first wanted to quickly post a note about some similarities in the hawaiian chant of creation the "kumulipo" as well as the mayan poem of creation "popol vuh" ....

in genesis 6:1-3 "...that the sons of God saw that the daughtes of man were comely, and they took themselves wives howsoever they chose" .... in many hawaiian legends and stories there is the pairing of the divinity and mankind .... I have always associated this aspect of the stories as symbols of the divinity within man .... the path to wisdom ....

the flood in genesis which is linked to the story of noah is worldwide in many traditions and ways .... even in the hawaiian chant (which we had before the arrival of the missionaries) .... the chant says in part:

(Born was Pola'a)
Hanau ka 'ino, hanau ke au
(Born was the rough weather, born was the current)
Hanau ka pahupahu, kapohaha
(Born was the booming of the sea, the breaking of foam)
Hanau ka haluku, ka haloke, ka nakulu, ka honua naueue
(Born the roraring, advancing and receeding of waves, the rumbling sound, the earthquake)
Ho'iloli ke kai, pi'i ka mauna
(The sea rages, rises over the beach) ....etc.

The "flood" (which was named Kai-a-ka-hina-lii) takes place at the time of Pola'a (a supernova seen about 1054AD) and those that use the chant for predictions of future events say that the chant predicts another flood to come which will be called kAI-A-KA-HULUMANU (which means sea of the bird feathers because the mountaintops will be covered and even the birds will die) .... but the "flood" is a sudden rising of the energies within the body which go to the mountaintop (the top of the head) and is not the story of the death of man, but can also be his ascent to enlightnment ....

I read one version of the view of the "Noach" that the flood might not be regarded as an act of destruction but drowning mankind in an ocean of seems possible that Genesis tell us many things at different levels .... perhaps all God is saying is that if we are righteous and good we will find that path to meet him face to face and like noah and the ark we will float to the top of the wave .... if not we are symbolically drowned ....

in the mayan poem of creation the Popol Vuh .... the gods made the first man several times but he was never perfect enough and each time they wiped them out .... finally a perfect one was made, but he was as perfect as the gods and that would not do they brought a mist down that covered the earth and the men could not see far ....(there is another story here but at another time) .... in genesis God says "I will wipe out the human race I created from the face of the earth" .... all the similarities are there for a reason .... gotta go for now, aloha nui, poh
aloha e dauer - what is happening with the parsha project .... seems a little silent, is it still going .... aloha nui, poh
It's still going. Sorry, I just haven't been posting much in the thread. But if I'm not, that doesn't mean that you can't. But since it does seem silent, let's move forward and discuss the incident with Noah's children and the chronology that follows. If I'm not posting when this is exhausted because of Shabbos, please don't hesitate to move forward to the tower. In fact, don't hesitate to move forward to the tower if that would be more interesting to you anyway.

Sometimes I find it a little exhausting leading the discussion all the time, which is one reason I had originally wished to see it as an open dialogue that organically moves forward.

I can understand about your wishing to have the dialogue move along organically .... I always hesitate to take the lead because I know that my interpretations are a little out of the ordinary and I feel that I am still learning about the process of the parsha .... I know you were also hoping that this would bring in more perspectives and there are so many on this forum that would make the dialogue very interesting, intriquing, and perhaps open doors to new ways of perceiving and seeing the words of the OT or even other scriptures that speak to the same subjects. I even considered not posting, but just reading, because I didn't know if my thoughts on the parsha were in part "turning others off to the process" .... I noted the high degree of philosophical discussion around another thread and thought that it would be great to have that same level of discussion on the parsha project .... an open door to dialogue on a portion of the scriptures from many different perspectives ....

I also wonder if we have any Kabbalist on the forum .... they would have another perspective on the parsha project based on the Zohar and the Tree of the Sephiroth .... I read a piece that said "the Kabbalah is the priceless heritage of Israel, but each year those who comprehend its true principles become fewer in number and without the key which the Kabbalah supplies, the spiritual mysteries of both the Old and the New Testament must remain unsolved by Jew and Gentile alike." Isn't that part of the idea of the parsha, to try different keys of understanding and to open the doors of the inner mystery of the scriptures ...

A return to the balance is one of the keys to understanding .... it is in part the symbol of the Star of David .... "unbalanced forces perish in the void. So passed the kings of the elder world, the princes of the giants. They have fallen like trees without roots, and their place is found no more. Through the conflict of unbalanced forces, the devastated earth was void and formless, until the Spirit of God made for itself a place in heaven and reduced the mass of waters. All the aspirations of Nature were directed then towards unity of form, towards the living synthesis of equilibrated forces; the face of God, crowned with light rose over the vast sea and was reflected in the waters thereof. His two eyes were manifested, radiating with splendour, darting two beams of light which crossed with those of the reflection. The brow of God and His eyes formed a triangle in heaven, and its reflection formed a second triangle in the waters." (The Secret Teaching of All Ages, Manly Hall)

I added the above because it is a pretty good description of what is described in the OT about the constant struggle between brothers .... it is a message within a message .... the story of Noah, the flood, the tower are all connected, in my mind, with this need to balance the world and our lives in order to survive .... and the body of man is but a microcosm of the greater body of the universe and can be read within the text of the OT ....

I understand well the symbols of the balance of energies within the human body, what I do not understand well is the religious texts associated with this same knowledge because I have shyed away from them for a long time since I connected religion with a form of dogma that seperated men from their true heritage or knowledge .... so much seperation through the teaching of men in churches, yet so much connectedness in the scriptures themselves as in the ways of other traditions .... actually even many of the ancient traditions have gone astray, just look at all the money that is made off the "sacred visits to ancient sites" ....

I see the focus on threads like "if you rape a woman, etc....." and wonder why we insist on such literal interpretations .and why so many love to respond... I cringe when I read some of the sections in the parsha because literally they describe punishment, revenge, war .... I know in my heart and soul that the meaning if very different if we dive deep enough into the ancient ocean to see beneath the veils of meaning ....

Perhaps in this part of the parsha since we are discussing Noah it would be great to see the many "flood" references from other traditions without comment, just the story itself or the reference .... in fact I think I'll post an invitation in the general section for "flood" stories to be posted .... after seeing several flood stories, we might be able to have a dialogue about what they mean and why we all have them .... well I really got carried away here, but I'll get back to Noah .... aloha nui, poh
i suppose the only thing i will add to this one is, i am always suprized at how quickly each new generation forgets things like floods, earthquakes & hurricanes.

it is not until a person is in a literal storm that they realize the potential for destruction & how swiftly it comes. watching it on the news, reading the paper- does not have the same impact as being in a real storm or disaster.
i remember talking to the old timers after Andrew went through in florida & they would describe the experience & point out where things used to be before their particular hurricane went through.,,i listened & took every word they had to say to heart. Naturally, i would not have cared what they had to say if i had not been through Andrew.

i believe the story of Noah is literal & there is no lie in it. i dont know if every mountain top & island was covered with water, but i dont see where it had to be completely covered either. This was a judgment sent from God because He does not have to tolerate wickedness & evil continually- BUT He does make a way of escape for those who love Him.
No one cares or heeds the warnings or prepares, until after destruction hits & the surviving generations quickly forget because we get too busy trying to fill our lives with other stuff.

that is just the way it is.

yet, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, before the age of grace. We can too if we listen to the warnings, watch & pray-God will make a way of escape from the turbulence of every day life by presenting our lives as a living scarifice unto the Lord. there was a covenant made there with Noah & with all the creation that the earth will never again be destroyed with water- but later we find it will be destroyed with fire.

i dont think i will be adding any more to this one because i just spilled all of my thoughts on it a couple of weeks ago in another thread.
the tower is brief but packed with meaning .... "and all the earth was one language, one set of words" .... "come, let us build us a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, that we may make us a name, lest we be scattered over the earth" ....I have been following the thread on the Towel of Babel and it might be worthwhile to go back and capture some of the various thoughts expressed there .... I'll try to do this in the next day or two and post them here because it will certainly offer some different perspectives .... hope I have time before we close Interfaith Noach ke aloha pumehana, poh
How would the story change if instead of reaching for the heights they were reaching for the depths, if instead of reaching upward they were reaching inward? Art Green suggests that revelation as something that happens up there should really be understood, in our time, as a metaphor for something that happens inside. I wonder what would happen if his concept was applied to the climbing up of this story.

1 And the whole man was of one language and of one speech, able to communicate within himself.
2 And it came to pass, as he journeyed within himself, that he found a less deep place in the land of Shinar; and he dwelt there.
3 And he said: 'Now, I will make foundation pieces, and prepare them thoroughly.' And he had contemplation for brick, and spiritual ecstacy had he for mortar.
4 And he said: 'Now, I will construct myself a foundation-place, and a reaching-inward-place, with its reaching in my depths, and I will make myself a name; lest I be scattered abroad upon the face of my whole world.'
5 And the LORD came out-from-within to see the foundation and the reaching-inward-place, which the mortal constructed.
6 And the LORD said: 'Behold, he is one person, and he has all one language for himself; and this is what he begins to do; and now nothing will be withholden from him, which he purpose to do.
7 Come, let us go out-from-within, and there confound his language, that he may not understand his other part's speeches.'
8 So the LORD scattered him abroad from thence upon the face of all his world; and he left off to build with contemplation again.

9 Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all his world; and from thence did the LORD scatter him abroad upon the face of all his world.

Targum Daueros

my goodness dauer .... I could not add one word to more perfectly describe the tower called Babel .... I was going to cut and paste some portions of the dialogue from "What is meant by the Tower of Babel" thread, but I think not because they would only detract from the glow that I feel from the above translation .... you write with such style and insight Targum Daueros .... aloha nui, poh
Thank you. A targum, for those who do not know, is a translation, usually referring to a couple translations into aramaic such as Targum Onkelos, of a Hebrew sacred text, often Torah, and these translations often take liberties. I used mechon-mamre's translation and doctored it up based on Art Green's concept.


edit: And in the study links I made available a link to translations of the major targumim online, I think.
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