In this week’s Parsha, we discuss a universally iconic story. In the beginning, we are introduced to Noah, whom the Torah described as a righteous man, blameless of all sins of his generation. One day, G-d said to Noah, “Because the earth is filled with wrongdoing and robbery, I am going to destroy it. Make yourself an ark of wood with enclosures for animals and gather food for all aboard. I shall bring a flood”. Noah, having listened to G-d’s instructions, included a pair of each animal to bring aboard the ark. Noah did everything as G-d said. Seven days later, the earth started filling with water; there was flooding everywhere. It rained for forty days and forty nights when finally, Noah opened a window to send out a raven with the hopes of finding land. The raven’s mission proved unsuccessful. The earth was flooded.
Every small detail of how the ark was to be made was instructed by G-d. One interesting request G-d made of Noah was to make a window in the ark. More specifically, G-d said, “make a, Tzohar, an opening for light in the ark.” The word Tzohar is related to the word Tzharayim, which means noon. This allows us to understand that G-d was requesting that an opening be made for letting the noon light shine. However, the window had served multiple purposes. Perhaps, the window was a way of showing the hope that Noah felt because it allowed him to get a small glimpse of the world at all times, from dark to dawn. A window connects the ark to the world. It gave him the opportunity to see how the world outside of the ark was growing and changing. This window is what also allowed Noah to send out the raven that was previously mentioned.
This story presents us with the opportunity to think about the windows we have in our life and the aspects of our lives that help us to see the light. It gives us the privilege to find hope within ourselves. Therefore, it is important to continuously remind ourselves that we should never forget to build a window, as it gives us an opening to the world.
As the story continues, Noah once again sent out birds so he could get a feel for what was happening outside the ark. When it finally returned, the bird had been able to obtain an olive leaf, signifying the world was healing. When the storm finally passed, G-d promised that he would never destroy anything again. G-d then sent a rainbow as a sign of a covenant between G-d and every living being that would forever occupy the earth.
At the end of the Parsha, we read how Noah's descendants built the Tower of Babel with the objective of finding their way to heaven. This story illustrates how humanity can come together to achieve great feats. However, the construction of the tower wasn't well received by G-d. There were lots of languages and G-d confused them, thus dispersing the people to different parts of the world. This story teaches us the importance of communication. Understanding others doesn't just depend on language, as communication is much more than just words. How often do we feel that we speak different languages with someone close to us? How often do we not understand others even when we speak the same language? Communication is one of the most essential components of our daily life. The danger is, as exhibited in the Tower of Babel, that if we end up separating ourselves from other people simply because we don't understand each other, we will not be able to grow together.
Dalia Pupkin Kleiman, BBYO Chile
Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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