Parashat Noach: Genesis 6:9 to 11:32

Week of 10/20/23

This sedrah’s story is given over to the adventures of Noah, one of the early humans on the earth. The purpose of the story is partly phenomenology, and partly to explain the basic ethical laws that a society shall follow. Our story also explains some natural phenomena, such as the rainbow. Early humans knew nothing about light refraction through prisms, i.e. raindrops. The flood story, which is probably borrowed from older  Semitic myths known as the Gilgamesh epic, serves as a springboard to explain the rainbow. It also enables us to understand the three ethnic groups in the then known world: Semites, from “Shem,” the Hamitic, or African group, from “Ham,” and Yaphet, the Indo-European peoples, from the name meaning beautiful skin.

Join us for a meaningful discussion of the these ideas, and the ethical teachings, known as the Noachide laws.

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