Noah: Humanity’s Harmonizing Diversity

 If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear. — Gene Roddenberry

According to the biblical account, all of humanity descends from Noah’s three sons, Shem, Cham and Yafet. Rabbi Hirsch on Genesis 6:10 explains that the name of each son carries great significance.

Shem, literally means “name”, suggestive of man’s ability to name things, to get to the heart of the phenomena he confronts. This is an intellectual and spiritual attribute.

Cham, meaning “hot”, represents the sensual aspect of man.

Yafet, from “beauty”, signifies man’s search for beauty in the world.

Rabbi Hirsch explains that these varying traits are purposeful and are meant to be channeled individually in the proper fashion as well as brought together to complement each other.

He learns it from the verse that states that Noah was “righteous, morally pure and walked with God.”

The intellectual attribute of Shem, instead of being directed to mundane matters, should seek to “walk with God”; the sensual traits of Cham need to strive for moral purity; and Yafet’s search for beauty should rather be a search for righteousness, for goodness. Each of these corrected traits then complement each other.

May we correct all of our traits at the individual level as well as at the global level.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ben-Tzion

Dedication

To the US Elections.
While not harmonious, they are certainly entertaining.

About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay and a candidate for the Knesset for the Zehut party. He is the author of three books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.
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