The Aftermath of Noah’s Flood by David Hartley Mark

Noach (נח)
Torah: B’resheit (Genesis) 6:9 – 11:32
Haftarah Sephardim: Isaiah 54:1 – 54:10
Haftarah Ashkenazim: Isaiah 54:1 – 55:5

The Aftermath of Noah’s Flood, Freely Adapted and Improved from Gen. 6-9

Following the devastations of the Flood, after the Mighty Vessel had come to rest on Mount Ararat, Captain Noah wished to learn if the flood-waters had receded, for God had become silent. He opened the Ark-window and sent forth a Raven, well-known as a Messenger between Heaven and Earth, though often a Portent of Warfare—for God had warred on Humanity for its alleged sins, and Humanity had lost, before the Power of God.

The Raven swooped and climbed, but was unable to find a dry nesting-place in the World of Wet. The Raven doubted whether Humanity could ever restore itself to its former greatness, after its Age of Sin—though whether Humanity had ever truly sinned or not, we will never know.

After all, if it were true, why then did God allow people to live for such astonishing lengths of years, and beget so many sons and daughters? Why allow Humanity to multiply in Sin?

“When Seth had lived 105 years, he begot Enosh. After the birth of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and begot sons and daughters. All the days of Seth came to 912 years; then, he died.

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he begot Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years; and he begot sons and daughters. …All the days of Methuselah came to 969 years; then, he died” (Gen. 5:6-27)

And why had the Almighty allowed the Sons of God to descend to Earth to cohabit with the Daughters of Men (Gen. 6:1-4)? Truly, a great deal has been lost from Biblical records, both Earthly and Celestial, since the Flood….

After all the animals and humans had left the Ark, Noah, the tiller of the soil, was first to plant a vineyard. He plowed, tilled, and sowed the seeds, harvested the grapes, distilled wine from them, drank the wine, and became drunk. Overheated from the wine, he unclothed himself in the tent. And Ham was first to enter, and beheld his father, unclothed.

Uncertain what to do—for his father was first of Humanity to be drunken, and Ham was uncertain how to deal with the situation—Ham left the tent, in order to seek the counsel of his brethren. And they said,

“You had been best to cover our father, for he did not know the power of alcohol, to cause a grown man to behave in such an animal fashion.”

And Ham wept, and refused to visit his father again, while Noah lay in such a condition; for Ham had always respected his father, and looked up to him as a role model. So it is, when youth recognize for the first time, that their elders are merely flesh and blood, and subject to mistakes and poor judgment.

Instead, Shem and Japeth, the Eldest and the Youngest, entered the tent, walking backward, and laid a blanket over their now-unconscious, inebriated father.

And when Noah arose, hung over but aware, he attempted to curse Ham, for seeing him in a State of Shame—but Shem and Japeth spoke, and said,

“No, not so, Father! For we will not abide your curse. Our brother Ham respects you fully, and owes you obeisance, as a proper son ought to do; as do we all. Instead, we repudiate any curse you put upon him; for, if you curse him, let the curse lie upon us all, that we be doomed to hate one another, for reasons of Color, Race, or Creed, and this Eternal Curse forever afflict Humankind, until an Age of Understanding may dawn.”

And Noah spoke, and said:

“The Curse will stand. For a Curse, once uttered, cannot return, or be retracted.”

And that is why a state of Hatred, War, and Rancor exists, among the races, and why we all must work for Peace.

And the Dove returned to the Ark—but, finding no animals or mortals within, went off to seek Noah and his Family—but they were gone: off to the Land of Nod (Wandering), to find a place where all could dwell in Peace, and Safety, and Harmony. This cannot occur, for such a Place does not exist naturally; we must work for it.

This could not be, due to Noah’s Curse.

Instead, the Dove went to seek the Raven. She found him, building a nest, in the Land of Moab, far from Ararat, where the Ark came to rest. For only the Raven knew that Moab, a people related to, but despised by Israel, would produce Ruth, a Jew-by-Choice, who was to be King David’s great-grandmother. So it is that Enemies become Friends. Such is the Way of the World.

“I am the Symbol of Peace,” she said, in her weak, dovish voice, “What is my role in this New World? How and when will Humankind work for Peace?”

And the Raven counseled her: “As I am Messenger ‘twixt Earth and Heaven, so can I prophesy: Noah’s work is done. His family will populate the Earth, but will produce no leaders. Fly away, Little Dove, and wait awhile.

“Far-off, in the Land of Ur of the Chaldees, another man will come forth, with his family—himself, his wife, and nephew: Abram his name, and Sarai hers. The World turns; the Biblical epic evolves, and God will use him. I, the Raven, prophesy sthat he will preach the One True God.”

“Will Abram bring Peace?” the Dove asked.

“Not yet,” the Raven spoke, “But, perhaps, in God’s good time….”

Rabbi David Hartley Mark is from New York City’s Lower East Side. He attended Yeshiva University, the City University of NY Graduate Center for English Literature, and received semicha at the Academy for Jewish Religion. He currently teaches English at Everglades University in Boca Raton, FL, and has a Shabbat pulpit at Temple Sholom of Pompano Beach. His literary tastes run to Isaac Bashevis Singer, Stephen King, King David, Kohelet, Christopher Marlowe, and the Harlem Renaissance.

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