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May 21, 2024

Noah Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion


Genesis, 6:9-11:32
This Week’s Torah Portion | Oct 15 – Oct 21, 2023- 30 Tishrei – 6 Cheshvan, 5784

In A Nutshell

The portion, Noah, speaks of sinful people and the Creator, who brings a flood on the world. “Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations” (Genesis, 6:9). This is why he was the one chosen to survive the flood.

But he did not survive alone. Rather, he was commanded to build an ark and move into it along with his kin, and pairs of all the animals, and to remain in the ark for forty days and forty nights until the flood stopped.

The Creator made a covenant with Noah and his family that the flood would never return. As a token of the covenant, He placed the rainbow in the sky.

The end of the portion speaks of the tower of Babel, about the people who decided to build a tower whose head reaches the heaven. The Creator decided to confuse their language so they would not understand one another, and then He dispersed them throughout the country.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion, Noah, is long, intense, and contains many details and many events compared to other portions. As this portion takes place in the beginning of the Torah, it also marks the beginning of the spiritual path, the most important time in a person’s development.

These initial stages unfold quite quickly, unlike subsequent events, when one begins the actual corrections and corrects one’s qualities meticulously. Later on, the events are far more detailed, as we will see in the future events unfolding in the Torah.

Our development takes place entirely over our egotistical will to receive, which we must turn into bestowal. Today we are still in the midst of a process where the whole of humanity is to begin to work with its ego in the right connection between people. The work against the ego is always a big problem, and appears as waves of a great sea, called Malchut of Ein Sof (Malchut of infinity).

Each time, the ego surfaces more and more, and at first, a person does not know what to do, so the only option is to hide in a box, an ark. It is not merely an escape; it is a correction. A person builds a kind of bubble, the quality of bestowal, and hides in it from all of one’s terrible egotistical qualities, and this is how one advances.

All along the manifestation of the ego, in each and every detail, the person walks into the ark in which one adjusts one’s corrections in order to rise above one’s ego and to avoid using it. In the ark, the person disconnects from the surrounding world, where terrible things are happening, and the self-centered desires ferociously bang on the ark’s hull, attempting to pull a person into all sorts of places and directions, into the depths of the sea. And yet, the person remains in the ark, focused on the desire to remain in the quality of bestowal.

The stay in the ark lasts forty days and forty nights. This is the difference between Malchut and Bina, because the whole of Malchut, all the desires, are included in Bina. A person checks oneself using the crow, but the crow does not return an answer. The dove, however, does return an answer because it is from the side of Rachamim (mercy), from the right, from the side of peace.

When a person receives the answer that all of one’s desires are controlled by the quality of bestowal, it is a sign that one has passed the flood. It is an indication that all of one’s desires and qualities, which are called “one’s kin,” the family that is in the ark, have passed the first stage of correction, and are now able to continue with the corrections. The purpose of the whole process, this flow, is for a person to correct one’s egotistical, broken soul, into a state where it is in complete equivalence of form, in Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, in pure bestowal.

When a person goes out to the air, to the dry land, the Creator says that He will make a covenant with the person, pertaining to everything that one is about to undergo. The covenant is for the future, when similar events might occur, so that one will know that one can use the forces one has used in the past.

The covenant testifies that we cannot correct ourselves and that we are compelled to use the same forces from the past. This is why we do not like the token of the rainbow in the sky. Let us assume that we are in a quarrel, and we remember that we used to be friends. Then, for the sake of the past relationship, we make peace again. Thus, the rainbow—the covenant—is not a good sign; it marks our entrance into a time of weakness, where further troubles are ahead, for which we will need it, because we will have to advance with it in any case.

Noah’s time is the beginning of the development of new times. There are ten generations from Adam to Noah, which are ten Sefirot, and there are ten generations (Sefirot) from Noah to Abraham. There are many qualities in a person that grow and come out until one recognizes one’s own egotistical qualities once more. It seems as though one forgets the qualities of bestowal that one was in while in the ark, and one can no longer cover them with Hassadim, the quality of Hesed (mercy) and with love of others, to be as one family as it was with Noah in the ark, when the whole world was as a family. At that time everyone was under the canopy of Hassadim, under a canopy of love, collaborating in mutual guarantee.

Now the egotistical desires are growing once more within a person and lead one back to Babel—a state where one sees one’s ego soaring, attempting to have everything and to control everything. The great egoist who controls the person is Nimrod, who is willing to do anything. Nimrod wants to know only the present and the future, and does not mind bowing to idols. He needs to control the person’s life; he does not want to be above, in the quality of bestowal, but only in the quality of reception, as we can see in our world today.

Everything that happened at that time had to happen because of the rule, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice” (Kidushin, 30b), because “the light in it reforms them.” In other words, we need to discover the evil in us, and from that revelation of evil we will discover its antidote, since we will not want to remain in the evil. This is why we need to obtain the light that reforms, the special light that the wisdom of Kabbalah tells us how to obtain so we may correct ourselves with it.

All the stories of the Torah prior to Noah’s time, such as that of Cain and Abel, describe the intensification of the ego. We learn about it from The Zohar, which tells us about the true meaning of the stories of the Torah. The Zohar tells us openly about what is implied in the Torah. It reveals to us what hides behind every human story, and what the Torah actually narrates. It is with good reason that the wisdom of Kabbalah is called the “wisdom of truth.”

The Torah speaks of our souls, about how we must bring it out of hiding. We must discover the soul on all the degrees of its Aviut, at every stage of its shattering, and we must correct it. Within the corrected soul, we must feel our spiritual lives and remain in them, as it is written, “You will see your world in your life” (Berachot, 17a). We must discover the spiritual world, the Creator, the “me” that is found in the spiritual world, and we must do it here and now, while we are in this world.

However, to enter the next world we must first discover our broken soul. In this process, the soul grows on the left line. This means that over the ten generations from Adam to Noah, great desires of the will to receive develop in it. At the stage in which we finish with the left line—following the Creator’s decision—the right line comes along and begins to correct the left. The left line is the corrupted, broken Malchut, while the right line is the quality of Bina, the qualities of bestowal, qualities of love, giving, and mercy.

Subsequently, ten new generations arrive, the ten Sefirot from Noah to Abraham—intended to correct the previous generations from Adam to Noah—meaning ten Sefirot of Ohr Yashar and ten Sefirot of Ohr Hozer. Abraham comes after those twenty generations and receives the beginning of the soul at a level where he can already understand and recognize the purpose. This is why he breaks the statues and begins to fight against his own big ego, which appears to him as Nimrod, as Babylon. With Nimrod on the left, and Abraham on the right, a person begins to fight for the correction of the soul.

All these names and incidents describe what happens to the soul of each of us. The Torah speaks of what each one should go through, and we gradually discover how we actually go through those stages.

Is a flood a bad thing? Today, words such as “tsunami” and “flood” arouse terror.

It is bad in spirituality, too. A flood implies “evil waters,” Gevurot. Water is essentially Hassadim, but when connected to an ego that controls it, it becomes dangerous water.

In this story, as well as in the story of the tower of Babel, we learn that the Creator decided to confuse the people; He caused them to sin, and then seemingly punished them.

Of course, nothing happens without Him, “there is none else besides Him.” What matters is how one reacts, accepts, and partakes in what is happening. In each situation, we must be His partners, and understand His works. It is like a mother playing with her baby. The mother wants the baby to understand her and play with her as she is playing with her baby. Therefore, of course the Creator is behind the whole process, but the question is whether a person knows how to react to it correctly at each moment.

Can we react like that baby?

If we look at babies, we will see that they are never at rest. They are constantly striving to grasp the world, examining and learning from it. Childhood is the time of building the man, the time of man’s corrections. After age twenty, everyone begins to grow old and dwindle.

The phases one goes through—the evil water, Noah, and Abraham—put one in terrible restlessness. But in the end everyone will have to go through it.

We go through all those stages in order to correct the soul within us. The whole Torah, from “In the beginning” to “Israel,” is written for us, so that we will experience it in our inner work. When we correct the soul, we enter the next world.

What is Noah’s Ark, and how does one enter it?

The ark is the quality of Bina. We are told how Bina is built, what are her qualities, how the SefirotGAR of Bina and ZAT of Bina, connect—meaning the first three SefirotKeterHochma, and Bina, and then the seven lower SefirotHesedGevuraTifferetNetzahHodYesod, and Malchut. We are also told about the three parts of Bina—the one that belongs to the upper one, the one that belongs to Bina herself, and the one that belongs to the lower ones. Bina is a quality that receives from above, and builds herself in order to pass on downward, like a mother who receives from the father and turns what she received into something suitable for the baby.

What does being in Bina mean?

Being in Bina means receiving the upper illumination. Everything comes from the influence of the upper light, and we cannot find it by ourselves or within ourselves. A person who receives this illumination from within feels that he is inside a special force, that the ego cannot harm or deflect one from the path. The person is completely protected there, as though one is in a bubble, in a box. It is still not attainment, since the person is inside the box like a baby in the womb, but then it opens the womb and the person is born.

Once a person is born, he or she discovers that the ego has grown tremendously. This is already the time of Babylon. In the state of Babylon, Nimrod and Abraham grow within.

Initially, Abraham is controlled by Nimrod. But when he sees that his ego is working against him and he must break free, Abraham exits Nimrod’s authority and tries to establish his quality of Hesed as the ruler of the ego. Although he cannot currently do it, since he must disconnect himself from it, he escapes and turns toward the land of Canaan.

What does the tower of Babylon stand for then and now?

The tower of Babel is the ego that appears in us, smothering us and not allowing us live. On the one hand there is Nimrod, who wants to grow as high as the sky; on the other hand there is Abraham, who sees it is impossible.

In that state, they part ways: the majority of the qualities follow the ego, with Nimrod, and the qualities that can be cut off from the “cake” of the tower of Babel—and be corrected by Abraham—are Abraham’s qualities, which a person begins to correct. These qualities join the journey toward the land of Canaan, in the partial correction of the soul.

Today, nearly 4,000 years later, we—the “descendants of Abraham” and the “descendents of Nimrod”—are reassembling to create a joint connection. We have built the tower of Babel once again, being the global financial and economic empire, and while on the one hand everything is falling apart, on the other, we, the “descendants of Abraham,” are trying to do something to correct it. So far, however, no one is listening.

Today we have no choice because we are past the whole process that The Book of Zohar details. We must complete the correction, and now Abraham must govern Babylon, the ego.

Today the world’s powers do not think about changing man, only about changing the economic and financial systems in a way that will only satisfy the ego even more. They do not think beyond it, not even as it was at the time of Noah—entering a bubble of mutual bestowal and avoiding contact with the ego. They do not think of ceasing the wars and the competition because their only interest is to profit out of it. To date, none of them are ready to listen, since the financial system is a projection of our egotistical connections, hence all the crises along the way. All we can do is learn a great deal from it.

The current crisis is the last one because it describes the totality of the egotistical connections between us, which are about to break down. The message of unity can be circulated when many people talk about the crisis and its cause. It is possible that this period will end well, but it is also possible that it will decline into a war; it depends on the people on Abraham’s side.

So we are the “addition” to the tower of Babel?

We belong to Abraham’s group, the one that left Babylon and moved with Abraham to the land of Canaan. The others, the egoists, belong to the group that came from Nimrod, from Babylon. We must go through this period of the last recognition of evil, which is the war of Gog and Magog, after which we will achieve the final correction of the common soul.

Does the confusion of the languages mark the collapse of the financial system?

The confusion of the languages has been here since Babylon and until now because the singular, great ego shattered into myriad pieces, to all its inclinations, and each part leans and pulls to itself. The external manifestation of it is the confusion of the languages.

And the Lord Smelled the Sweet Savor

“After the flood, ‘I will not again,’ since now the revelation of the evil has been completed, for I no longer need to add fire to disclose the Din (judgment), for the evil has been revealed sufficiently. ‘For the inclination in a man’s heart is evil from his youth,’ and he must not be scolded, and all of the Creator’s punishments are but corrections.”

Zohar for All, Noah, item 243

“And all of the Creator’s punishments are but corrections.” If a person truly relates to life this way, and wishes to discover that everything happens for the purpose of correction, one should only know how to take part, how to make oneself part of this flow, even if just a little, in order to suddenly discover a spiritual life, filled with abundance.

Read the Original Portion Here »


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