All Sorts of Arks
Oct 7th, 2010 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week
Just then, a tow truck pulled across the street and cut off all traffic. Our “Ark” didn’t feel quite as safe as we sat on the dark street waiting to move. All we wanted was to get to the safety and comfort of our other “Ark,” our home. If our car is a form of Ark; our home certainly is so. I can leave many of the tensions of the world outside my home and feel all safe and secure.
Except, of course, for Pip. Whenever it storms, Pip jumps onto our bed and trembles until the thunder and lightning cease. I don’t think Pip would have survived in Noah’s Ark. Noah didn’t sleep while in the Ark, but Pip would have jumped right into Mrs. Noah’s bed for the entire forty days of deluge. I imagine that he would not have been the only animal scurrying for safety with on of the humans.
It is fair to say that whenever I dropped my children off at school, that I saw the school as an Ark of safety. They were safe, warm and dry. (As opposed to some of the Yeshivot I attended where we weren’t always dry (the roofs leaked), warm (the heating didn’t work), or safe (we had a few incidents with drunken teen agers storming into the building after a game at the Catholic Youth Center next door). When I dropped my son in Binghamton for college, I felt less of the sense of Arkness than I experienced when he was in primary school. When my daughter chose to live off campus in an apartment, I checked out the building’s safety procedures and doormen, but there was even less Arkness than when she lived in the dorm.
When I was little, my father zt”l’s study was the safest place in the world, an Ark. My own study was my favorite Ark, at least until it was flooded this week in honor of the Parsha, and a family of squirrels moved in just above the ceiling. (They must also think of my study as an Ark!)
Moses had an Ark; his basket is described as a “Taivah,” the same word as Ark. Was Elijah’s chariot an Ark? I guess that many people experienced the Beit Hamikdash, the Temple in Jerusalem, as an Ark. My Succah has some Arkness to it, as do any Beit Midrash or synagogue. The Garden in Eden must have been an awesome Ark, at least until someone allowed the serpent to enter. The people who began work on the Tower of Babel were attempting to create their own type of Ark.
The problem with all these Arks is; What happens when you leave their safety? Noah did not fare very well after leaving.
Arks are nor permanent solutions. The best Ark is one trains you in what to do after you leave its safety. That, I believe, is the secret of the Tzohar, the Ark’s window or diamond. One window on top will not provide sufficient light for all three floors of the Ark. Even the Hope Diamond wouldn’t work. No, the Tzohar was not for physical light. It was the key to training Noah and his family to prepare for life after the flood.
To Be Continued…
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