In the beginning, God created the world, with humanity as the crowning achievement. Ten generations later, God regretted creating humanity and destroyed almost all of it. And then God made a rainbow as a promise that never again would God bring such a deluge upon us.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the promise and the symbol this week. We’re all still reeling from the Simhat Torah massacre in Israel. This week, as more Israelis were confirmed killed and as bodies continued to be identified, we saw images of funerals, Entire families slaughtered, buried side by side with few or no surviving immediate mourners. Death and anguish comes crashing down on the Jewish People like a deluge. On Facebook, Israeli friends share death announcement posts and photos of the victims. Lilach Krakauer, who shared the joy of music in our Koolulam webinar two years ago, summed it up with two Hebrew words: “Hake-ev ein-sofi–the anguish is endless.”
And war is both inevitable and uncertain. When will it start; when will it end? What will be of Israel after victory? What will be next for Gaza? What will happen on her other borders? We crave a sign, a promise, some symbol of beauty and hope. None appears forthcoming any time soon.
Yet even after the cataclysm of this week’s Torah reading, Parshat Noah, that symbol, the rainbow, appears. The Torah calls it ot habrit, the sign of the covenant, between God and our world. On Shabbat morning, we’ll explore some of the elements of this symbol, and consider our brit, our covenantal responsibilities to the People of Israel.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, and Shalom ‘al Yisrael,
Rabbi David Wise
Candle lighting: 5:50 PM
Torah Reading: Genesis 6:9-11:32
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-55:5