This week we read the 2nd Sedra in the Torah - Noach. No less than 1536 years have elapsed since the beginning of the Torah (all covered by the first Sedra- Bereishit).
The central theme of this week’s Sedra is the flood and Noah's ark. Although Noah (after whom the Sedra is named) is a righteous man, the majority of his contemporaries are not. Immorality is rife as is theft and dishonesty. The A-lmighty decides to give mankind 120 years to mend its ways-no small amount of time!
However, Noah and his family merited saving. God comes up with an ingenious device, which would kill the evildoers of the world, but would deliver Noah and his family. Noah is instructed to build an "ark" which would protect its inhabitants from a flood that would cause everyone else to drown. He is told to take his family into the ark, as well as representatives of all species of animals and birds. He was to take 7 pairs of every kosher animal and 2 of every non-kosher variety.
Despite the fact that Noah told people about the looming disaster, they stubbornly refused to repent and mend their ways. (Presumably, they accused Noah of conducting a "Project Fear" campaign!)
The deluge lasted for 40 days, but the waters did not abate for several months.
The A-lmighty makes a covenant with Noah and assures him that He would never again visit such a calamitous flood upon the world. G-d informs him that the appearance of a rainbow will act as a sign of this Covenant. That is why to this day we make a special blessing on the appearance of a rainbow.
The Sedra continues with the story of the Tower of Babel.
Ten generations are enumerated from Noah until the birth of Abraham.
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