In this portion we read of the destruction of the world by the great flood and the recreation of the world. By the tenth generation after Adam, human evil has sunk to such depths that God can no longer tolerate it and the world must be purged of its corruption. Noah and his family alone of all mankind are saved along with seven pairs (male and female) of all clean animals and one pair of unclean animals found on earth. The description of the flood is in many respects a reversal of the process of creation. When the waters subside and the occupants of the ark emerge on dry land, the narrative parallels the creation story. Noah is portrayed as a second Adam, but the world after the flood is a significantly different place. Although Noah’s sons become the progenitors of a world full of people, the complete harmony of all creation is gone. This change is symbolized by the permission given to mankind to eat meat, albeit with the prohibition of eating the blood. God establishes the rainbow as a sign of His promise that the earth will never again be destroyed by flood. The account of the Tower of Babel shows how that unity is shattered by mankind’s pride. God’s plan is again thwarted, but this time He responds by narrowing His focus to one segment of mankind which will be the instrument of achieving His purpose. The reading concludes with an account of the line of Noah’s son, Shem, which brings us – after generation – to Abraham.

Torah Reading:

Genesis 6:9 – 11:32


Isaiah 54:1 – 10