Ebionite Davar Torah: Noah
There are so many things to choose from of a parasha to base a davar Torah upon. I have discovered that as I begin a new parasha and look at subjects of a davar, I see so many things that need to have been discussed in the preceding parasha. Choices! Always there to teach us.
We are told that Elohim was unhappy with all flesh and decided to wipe it clean from the earth. Why?
This is the story of Noah: Noah was a good man, an upright man among his contemporaries, and he walked with God.10Noah fathered three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth.11God saw that the earth was corrupt and full of lawlessness.12God looked at the earth: it was corrupt, for corrupt were the ways of all living things on earth.
13God said to Noah, I have decided that the end has come for all living things, for the earth is full of lawlessness because of human beings. So I am now about to destroy them and the earth. [NJB]
The flesh on the earth did not embrace the devil. People today talk of the battle of Satan and "God" for the souls of men and for the rule of a demonic prince over the world. In such a world everything human would be corrupt. Here in B'reshiyt in the accounts of Noah we have just such a state of affairs and worse! Even the creatures are "evil." So where is the dualist devil laughing over his victory over "God"? He is where he has always been---in our imagination fertilized by pagan fear.
Why did YHWH wipe his creatures from the earth? Again, we must remember the Purpose of YHWH. He created according to purpose and saw that it was good. It was good according to Purpose.
nishhatah "it (the world) was corrupt" and all flesh had kiy-hishhiyt.. 'et-darko indeed corrupted its way and the earth was full of hamas lawless-violence. Through free-will all flesh had chosen to accomplish its own desires in ways outside Purpose. It took what was meant to be good, and created as good and abused and misused it. You see wickedness is deviation from Purpose, not a demonic, external force. Primitive peoples projected their own failures, due to ignorance and selfish desire, outside themselves and personal responsibility to personifications, objects, and myths.
A conversation arose yesterday with teenage students about marijuana. They are fascinated by the recreational practices of past civilizations and also how some social practices that would be seen today as negative things were once encouraged. Speaking of the Greeks and humanism and how it was not within the realm of our current value system partially derived from Hebraic values, we discussed the Greek embrace of bisexuality and pederasty during one period of time. You would have to work with teenagers to understand how one jumps from one to the other subject. But along the way we hit upon the concepts humanism based on human need as opposed to a more absolute system of values not always apparently based on human need. Sorry you cannot relive the discussion because it was a very good one.
But I admitted to them that marijuana was good and useful. They were pleased and thought they had me. But then I told them that marijuana and drugs are not the problem, "you are." 'You take something good and useful and abuse it; you pervert its purpose; through your inability to control yourself and your self-centeredness you transfer your negative behaviour to something good making it bad. And in turn you are seen as bad, and you attract bad things to you.
This is the story of man! A good creation was misused, corrupted. Just as we are all part of YHWH, and in partnership with Him, we are all interrelated to each other, to all flesh. Our corruption reverberates to all flesh. We become chaotic violent cells without Purpose; we become cancer to creation. Cancer is not some foreign disease that enters from outside. Cancer is good, living cells that lose their direction and spread this absence of purpose to everything it comes into contact with, destroying the whole.
We must know and hold to our Purpose. This is what the Torah is---Instruction, Purpose. We live in a real world where we are all effected by one's actions, not a world of demons and mythological fairy tales where our choices can be dismissed by a word.
Of all the things to write upon in this parasha, this short passage sums up our whole belief system.