Where is Noah When We Need Him?

Has anyone seen the ark or is it still entrenched on Turkey’s Mount Ararat?  Wherever it is, we need it now. So where is Noah when we need him?

Much of central Israel is inundated by flood waters caused by intensive heavy rainfall. In Rehovot, young school children have to be recused by small boats to get them safely to their homes. At this moment, I am not in Rishon but my neighbors have informed me that we too are under floodwaters.

Religious Jews have often said “geshem bracha”… rain is a blessing. And so it is to a parched country. But too much of anything (like a Likkud government) is more of a curse than a blessing.

In the biblical fable of Noah and the great flood, a story copied from the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic which preceded the Hebrew bible by more than one thousand years, we are told that the whole world was doing evil and that Noah was the only righteous man on earth. Therefore, evil must be destroyed and righteousness rewarded.

So Noah and Mrs. Noah and Shem, Ham and Japheth marched into a great wooden ark, accompanied by two of each of the creatures who inhabited the earth, while heavy rains poured down for forty days and forty nights.

In the Hebrew bible, the number forty does not refer exactly to that number. It is a biblical term to reflect a very long time. Moses remained on the mountain top for forty days and forty nights; the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years, are among the several biblical passages in which the number forty is used.

However long the Noahite family remained in the ark after the dove failed to return a second time is not important to the legend.

Jack and Jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of water. They both fell down but we don’t know if they ever succeeded in filling the pail with water.

Red Riding Hood did not obey her grandma’s request to stay quietly at home and was confronted by a big bad wolf with long fanged teeth.

Goldilocks was punished for entering a bear household without permission, damaging a bed, a chair and licking honey, until she was caught and had to run away.

Pinocchio’s nose grew longer and larger every time he told a lie.

Snow White was given a poisoned apple and slept until a Prince Charming kissed her on her lips and she woke up.

Cinderella lost a shoe running from a wicked step-mother at a fancy ball until it was returned to her by a handsome prince.

And in all the legends, everyone lived happily ever after.

The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic is the story of a great deluge which wiped evil mankind off the earth. Centuries later, biblical story-tellers copied it, changed Gilgameth’s name to Noah and the details of the flood, while similar, still have variations.

So back to the flooded streets of Rishon Lezion, Nes Tziona, Rehovot and other cities and towns now knee-deep in flowing rain-water. All our prayers for Noah to arrive with his ark are in vain.

God has sent His diligent police forces to rescue the stranded and provide shelter for the inundated masses.  So who needs Noah?

Now, if only the flood waters could invade the chambers of our Knesset and drive out the “wicked ones” from seats of power,  a longed-for rainbow might appear in the heavens.

I’m keeping my eyes glued skyward !   It’s still Chanukah and there’s  still time for another miracle or two.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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