Parshas Noach - Refuge

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It seems like the world had a good first couple of days, and then, early Friday morning Adam and Chava ate from the Eitz Hadas. This was the beginning to where we find the world in Parshas Noach. People had a complete lack of respect for each other, robbery and murder was rampant and God had enough. He needed to make a fresh start, to spiritually cleanse the world with the waters of the mabul, hoping that the next generation of humans will be spiritually in-tune and not only have a good relationship with God but also with each other.

Hashem told Noach to build an ark. The real purpose of which was so people would see Noach building the Teiva and do Teshuvah. The Baal Shem Tov teaches that the word “Teiva” also means “a word”, so when Hashem tells Noach, “Come into the Teiva”(7:1) it also means to come into the word, “the word” being Torah and Tefillah. Sometimes we are faced with a raging sea in front of us, whether that raging sea is work, school, family – whatever may be stressing us out or on our mind – we have a Teiva, not only a ship that we can board to make safe passage through the stormy seas of life, but the words of Torah and Tefillah that we can take refuge in, to save ourselves from all that drowns us. With the Teiva Noach survived the flood, and so can we.

Exactly one year after the flood began, the world was dry once again. Yet Noach did not want to leave the Teiva. So “God spoke to Noach, saying ‘Leave the Ark”(8:15,16). The Teiva first taught us the lesson of it being our metaphorical shelter through the storm, that whatever troubles we may be having in our life we can weather them by stepping into the Torah and Tefillah. But now, Hashem says it’s enough, we have to leave the Teiva! How could that be!? We may enter the Teiva, and feel safe – never to venture out again. So in reality the true purpose of entering the Teiva is to exit the Teiva. We can again learn a lesson from the Teiva – God wants us, just like he wants Noach, to leave the Teiva. To leave the protective environment of being immersed in Torah and Tefillah and to go enter the world with our light that we made. Like the pasuk says “Make a light for the Teiva”(6:16), and illuminate the darkness of the physical world with our spiritual light, working to unite our Earth to Heaven above, making it a home for Hashems presence once more.

May we merit to stay safe in our Teiva and to exit bringing great light to all those around us.