03 November 2016
The second parasha of the Torah, Noach, contains two famous stories: The Flood and the Tower of Babel. Both reflect God’s displeasure with the actions of man, resulting in destruction (flood) and disruption (multitude of languages). The stories make for wonderful children’s reading, but how many of us have considered their meaning beyond our childhood understanding?
The Flood story, for example, mirrors other similar stories of the ancient Babylonians and Sumerians. In the latter account, a flood was ordered by an assembly of gods after the chief deity, Enlil, was having trouble sleeping because people were making too much noise. In the Torah version, God destroys the world and nearly all human beings because, “God saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth and how every plan devised by his mind was nothing but evil all the time. And God regretted that God had made man on earth and God’s heart was saddened.”
Being annoying is one thing; being evil is quite another. A world of peace, righteousness and loving deeds is what God desires – all of which are in our control. In a world seemingly gone mad with hatred and violence, it is the simplicity of the Flood story that reminds us what is required to keep what we have….and how much is indeed in our control.