Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Noach: A Vessel of Giving and Receiving

This week’s Torah reading begins with the words “These are the generations of Noach/Noah… the earth was full of corruption…Hashem said to Noach, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth …Make for yourself an Ark.“ [6:9;14]

Noach is instructed to build an Ark to protect himself and his family from the subsequent Great Flood.

The reason given for the flooding/cleansing of the earth is, “… the earth was full of corruption.” The Talmud says that this means that the inhabitants of the earth were consumed with robbery and theft. [Sanhedrin] “…for all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth.” This is understood to mean that even the animal kingdom had become corrupted and there was interspecies relationships occurring even amongst the animals themselves. [Ibid]

Theft is an act of ‘receiving’ from another without consent, whereas interspecies relationship is an act of ‘giving’ without the other partner’s consent. In both actions there is a misalignment between the giver and the receiver.

The generation of the flood sensed that giving was an important part of their humanity, but allowed their selfishness to warp the give and take in the universe. They became selfish receivers and dominant givers, meaning that they received from others without giving in return and their giving was a dominating and abusive act.

The actions of humans affect the environment, and eventually even the animal kingdom became influenced by the unbalanced behavior of the human beings. Nature itself became infected with the tyranny of this generation, and the animals began mating with others not of their species. The masculine and feminine, giver and receiver, are designed to work in sync, yet, lacking the proper balance, giving became a method of controlling the receiver and receiving became a selfish act. This set the stage for wanton abuse.

Noach was commanded to build an Ark, a vessel which contained the universe in microcosm. Within this miniature world, Noach was obliged to give himself totally to the care of each of the animals, as well as the humans, that were ensconced within the ark.

His entire existence was both a constant labor of feeding and caring for the creatures, each according to their specific needs and schedules, and simultaneously an act of protection for himself and his family - sheltered as they were within the confines of the ark.

So on the one hand he was being protected from the outside forces of the flood, and on the other hand, his primary function in the Ark was to give to those who needed his care.Based on this state of existence, once the flood was over, Noach was able to rebuild a humanity based on a balanced equilibrium of giving and receiving.

The Energy of the Week:
A Vessel of Giving and Receiving

Our existence is a constant flow of giving and receiving.

To create a harmonious balance we must be sure that even as we protect ourselves and our loved ones, we are also giving out to the universe.

In order to give we must know how to receive, and in order to properly receive we must learn the art of giving, this way we complete the circuitry of life’s flow.

This week’s Torah reading imbues us with the energy of attaining this balance, to be able to give openly and simultaneously be capable of receiving that which we need to continue this cycle of receiving/giving.

We ourselves become an ark, a vessel, of reciprocity, and the energy of giving and receiving flow seamlessly through us, creating a harmonious, balanced universe.

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