(כ) וַיִּ֥בֶן נֹ֛חַ מִזְבֵּ֖חַ לַֽיהֹוָ֑ה וַיִּקַּ֞ח מִכֹּ֣ל ׀ הַבְּהֵמָ֣ה הַטְּהֹרָ֗ה וּמִכֹּל֙ הָע֣וֹף הַטָּה֔וֹר וַיַּ֥עַל עֹלֹ֖ת בַּמִּזְבֵּֽחַ׃ (כא) וַיָּ֣רַח יְהֹוָה֮ אֶת־רֵ֣יחַ הַנִּיחֹ֒חַ֒ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהֹוָ֜ה אֶל־לִבּ֗וֹ לֹֽא־אֹ֠סִ֠ף לְקַלֵּ֨ל ע֤וֹד אֶת־הָֽאֲדָמָה֙ בַּעֲב֣וּר הָֽאָדָ֔ם כִּ֠י יֵ֣צֶר לֵ֧ב הָאָדָ֛ם רַ֖ע מִנְּעֻרָ֑יו וְלֹֽא־אֹסִ֥ף ע֛וֹד לְהַכּ֥וֹת אֶת־כׇּל־חַ֖י כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשִֽׂיתִי׃ (כב) עֹ֖ד כׇּל־יְמֵ֣י הָאָ֑רֶץ זֶ֡רַע וְ֠קָצִ֠יר וְקֹ֨ר וָחֹ֜ם וְקַ֧יִץ וָחֹ֛רֶף וְי֥וֹם וָלַ֖יְלָה לֹ֥א יִשְׁבֹּֽתוּ׃
(20) Then Noah built an altar to יהוה and, taking of every pure animal and of every pure bird, he offered burnt offerings on the altar. (21) יהוה smelled the pleasing odor, and יהוה resolved: “Never again will I doom the earth because of humankind, since the devisings of the human mind are evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living being, as I have done.
(22) So long as the earth endures,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
Day and night
Shall not cease.”
Coping with Crisis Spiritually
From the Diaries of Etty Hillesum
Early in 1942
“There are few illusions left to us,” “Life is going to be very hard […] We shall have to steel ourselves inwardly more and more.”
A few months later:
“The threat grows ever greater, and terror increases from day to day.” (Food was rationed; barred from transport systems, she had to walk everywhere wearing a star, her feet were always blistered, people disappeared.) “I draw prayer round me like a protective wall, withdraw inside it as one might into a convent cell and then step outside again, calmer and stronger and more collected again.”
On July 3rd 1942 she wrote:
“What they (the Nazis) are after is our total destruction. I accept it. I know it now and I shall not burden others with my fears. I shall not be bitter if others fail to grasp what is happening to us Jews. I work and continue to live with the same conviction, and I find life meaningful – yes, meaningful – although I hardly dare say so in company these days. Living and dying, sorrow and joy, the blisters on my feet and the jasmine behind the house, the persecution, the unspeakable horrors – it is all as one in me, and I accept it all as one mighty whole… ”
Hearing the Call
With God’s opening words to Abraham
The Torah reminds us
That the journey forward
And the journey inward
Are simultaneous and inseparable.
This is the deep grammar of Lech Lecha".
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, from her installation as President at Hebrew College
(2) I will make of you a great nation,
And I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
And you shall be a blessing.
(3) I will bless those who bless you
And curse the one who curses you;
And all the families of the earth
Shall bless themselves by you.” (4) Abram went forth as יהוה had commanded him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. (5) Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the wealth that they had amassed, and the persons that they had acquired in Haran; and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in the land of Canaan,
1. What do you think the Ma'or Veshemesh means by "rote"?
2. How does that relate to there being many names for God?
3. What do you think this statement means? And means for you?
".....they should learn from the ancestors that each must worship God in his or her own way, and struggle to perceive his own reality, and not follow commandments through rote learning and observance. Therefore each individual must call Me by a name that is in accord with his or her own spiritual qualities."
Ma’or Vashemesh, Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Epstein, Krakow, Poland (1754-1823), Parashat Shemot
This was the holy path of Abraham our father, peace be upon him, who did not want to observe “a commandment that has been learned by rote” (Isaiah 29:13), that is, he did not want to learn from his father Terach to worship in an idolatrous manner. Rather, he wanted to ascertain reality through his own effort and his own capacity. So it was that at first he thought the sun was the Sovereign over everything. And then he saw it setting on one day, and on the next day, he saw it rising from the east just as on the previous day, and so he came to understand that the sun must also have a Sovereign and a Master. And so too with the moon and the stars and all of the planets – until he attained, from the depth of his own wisdom, an awareness of the Holy Blessed One, who is Sovereign and Creator of all.
In the same way, when Isaac our father saw Abraham his father, he did not want to follow commandments that have been learned only by rote or by habit. So he too followed in Abraham’s path, and investigated the reality of Divinity according to his own holy path, until he perceived the reality of the Blessed Holy One. And similarly, Jacob did not want to follow commandments that have been learned only by rote or by habit, doing like the previous generation without coming to an understanding through his own intellectual and spiritual capacity.
This is why there are many names for God. For everyone, must worship God in his or her own way and must find his or her own name for the Holy Blessed One.
And so, Abraham our father, peace be upon him, whose worship was characterized by the attribute of love and kindness, and by the recognition of God’s greatness, called God “hagadol” (“the Great One”). And Isaac, whose worship was characterized by the attribute of awe and fear, called God “hagibor” (“the Mighty One”). And Jacob, in his own way, worshipped by calling God “hanora” (“the Awesome One”). This is the source of “hagadol, hagibor, v’hanora.” “The great, mighty, and awesome One”. This suggests that each one of the ancestors called God according to his or her own spiritual qualities and capacities.
In this way, we come to explain what Moses said to the Blessed Holy One when he spoke of Israel asking for God’s name. When they ask what they should call You, they are asking what they should call You, given their own spiritual qualities, that they may be able to worship You according to those qualities. That is what it means when Moses asks: “What is His Name?” and “What shall I say to them? (Exodus 3:13)
And God said to Moses, “Ehyeh asher Ehyeh. I will be what I will be. And He said, “So shall you speak to the children of Israel: Ehyeh [I will be] sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14) The meaning of the name Ehyeh is: “I will be called by each person according to his or her own spiritual qualities.
By this, God meant: “Say to them that they should not follow the commandments only through rote learning and observance. They should each learn from you to worship me with the name that reflects their own spiritual qualities. Therefore, God continued by saying, “The God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:15).
God has a unique relationship with each individual. That is to say – they should learn from the ancestors that each must worship God in his or her own way, and struggle to perceive his own reality, and not follow commandments through rote learning and observance. Therefore each individual must call Me by a name that is in accord with his or her own spiritual qualities.
And so, after this, God said to Moses: “This is My name forever, and this is My memorial unto all generations” (Exodus 3:15). By this, God meant: “The nameEhyeh is a holy name, it is a name that is hidden and secret and wondrous and not yet revealed. And this is My memorial unto all generations – this is what it means to remember God – to teach that in each generation, including all generations to come, I will be called by each person according to his or her own qualities and capacities.
אנחנו כולנו בני אברהם
אבל אנחנו גם הנכדים של תרח, אבי אברהם
ועכשיו אולי הגיע זמן הנכדים לעשות
לאביהם מה שהוא עשה לאביו
ששבר את תרפיו ואליליו, את דתו ואמונתו
אבל גם זאת תהיה התחלת דת חדשה
We Are All Children of Abraham
We are all children of Abraham
but we are also the grandchildren of Terah, Abraham‟s father.
And now, perhaps, the time has come for the grandchildren to do
to their father what he did to his father
when he broke his statues and idols, his religion and faith.
But this, too, will be the beginning of a new religion.