Far from being detached, the root of any tree constantly provides nourishment for the tree as it grows far above. The constantly inform the tree and support it. When reading Noah this week, I was tapping into the ancient roots of our people, and found issues very much at the forefront of our consciousness: Global climate change, moral relativism, information security and identity theft, privacy, preservation of bio-diversity and the problem of communication, just to name a few.

Our actions and those of our country have far reaching effects on the world we live in. Noah’s generation saw that up close, as they drowned in a flood of their own making. Noah teaches the importance of preserving animals and other species before they are extinguished by our careless destruction of nature. Save the species, the bio-diversity. Noah didn’t just save animals that had a “use” but many species that humans have no use for.

Its not that Noah is a tree-hugging, granola chomping, vegi eating hippie. No, Noah ate meat, with God’s permission, he loved to drink and have a good time. He used the earth for his own pleasure and benefit. But Noah knew that life, nature, and the planet, are gifts that need stewardship, not exploitation and destruction.

Shabbat Shalom

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • Great comment. Fully agree.

    May a Gentile Christian ask a question? In one English translation of Genesis 9: 8-16 the word ‘covenant’ appears seven times, and an eighth time in v. 17 (other English translations there are only seven instances, within vv 8-17). In the Hebrew, how many times does it appear – seven or eight? Do the historic interpreters remark upon the number of instances?

    In the midst of a terrifying [climate-change-worsened?] drought in Australia (our city water supply is at 25% and falling, I cling to this passage in Genesis and remind myself that G-d has – a covenant with the earth: v. 13, English translation, ‘the sign of the covenant between me and the earth’.

  • Mufti, the flood was G-d’s response to humanity’s moral depravity at the time. That was the cause and effect.

    Got this in my inbox:

    Noah in 2006

    In the year 2006, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now
    living in the United States, and said, “Once again,
    the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I
    see the end of all flesh before me.

    Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing
    along with a few good humans.”

    He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, “You have 6
    months to build the Ark before I will start the
    unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.”

    Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah
    weeping in his yard – but no Ark.

    “Noah!” He roared, “I’m about to start the rain! Where
    is the Ark?”

    “Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have
    changed. I needed a building permit. I’ve been arguing
    with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler
    system. My neighbors claim that I’ve violated the
    neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my
    yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to
    go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision.

    Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond
    be posted for the future costs of moving power lines
    and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage
    for the Ark’s move to the sea. I told them that the
    sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing
    of it.

    Getting the wood was another problem. There’s a ban on
    cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl.
    I tried to convince the environmentalists that I
    needed the wood to save the owls – but no go!

    When I started gathering the animals, an animal rights
    group sued me.

    They insisted that I was confining wild animals
    against their will. They argued the accommodation was
    too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put
    so many animals in a confined space.

    Then the EPA ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until
    they’d conducted an environmental impact study on your
    proposed flood.

    I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human
    Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed
    to hire for my building crew.

    Immigration and Naturalization is checking the
    green-card status of most of the people who want to

    The trades unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist
    I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building

    To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets,
    claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally
    with endangered species.

    So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10
    years for me to finish this Ark.”

    Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine,
    and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up
    in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to
    destroy the world?”

    “No,” said the Lord. “The government beat me to it.”