Here’s the good news about the Noah story: we get another chance. Assuming we’re identifying with the hero. And why would we not?
What if you got a do-over? A real, honest-to-goodness second chance to redo your life. To redefine yourself in some substantive and meaningful way. How would you live then?
It doesn’t matter whether you got there by hitting bottom with bankruptcy, addiction, a health crisis, or by making new agreements with yourself about your next now. Whether the road is easy or hard, this week’s reading says, you get to head out again.
Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey describes the trip pretty well: aspire to a great goal, try/fail/fall/keep trying, purifying your soul and karma in the process. Who hasn’t already done it a coupla zillion times? Raise your hand high if you’re where you want to be, and then tell the rest of us how you did it.
Torah says the first ten generations become rife with all manner of corruption and decay. We don’t hear about their journey. Just know they screwed up so badly it’s HaShem who wants the do-over.
In most lives it’s more mundane, but we’re still hobbled by bad decisions, usually about money, partner, career, or habits. Too often we go back to our vices instead of doing our holy work. In the actual Torah story, after getting to dry land, Noah blows it almost immediately with women and wine.
It helps to be curious what we got so wrong. If you know the old stories maybe you’ll have better vision about the big picture. I say that believing that you/we/I are here now to get it right. Or at least better than our previous tries. Because none of us gets it right at once. Even if you do, you get another lesson thrown at you. So do this one as best you can. You don’t wanna have to come back to clean up stray threads of karma.
We’re standing in the gateway of our second chance. In the moment when you decide the future is gonna be different from the past. The whole rest of Torah is the journey to make that true. Trekking through soul space. Learning yourself, finding a tribe, earning and achieving the redemption you have just been granted. We get a rainbow to mark the experience.
Why wouldn’t you sign on for that ride? Why wouldn’t you do it now? (Really, why wouldn’t you? Why haven’t you? Why do you feel hesitant or unready to? Chew on those for a bit.)
It’s time to go back to Go. Back to baseline. Time for the next take. What do we do? We say Yes. That’s what Noach offers. A chance to come out of the wet and the storm and build a fire. To think about how grateful you are for this one more chance to be you. And then to do a good job of it. Your soul is watching and wishing and hoping you’re going to