Here are the missing sources for yesterday’s post:
Gematria linking the measurement’s of Noah’s ark — including its 30-cubit height — to the four-letter name of God, YHVH, is credited to the 16th Century Kabbalist Isaac Luria, AKA “the Ari.” I do not have an exact citation, and perhaps there is an older source as well.
Yalkut Reuveni, a 17th Century anthology of writings from kabbalist Reuben Kahana of Prague, is credited with linking Proverbs 18:10 with Noah entering the ark.
Kabbalists, including the 18th Century Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev, also offer commentary linking Noah’s ark [teva] and the concept of ‘word’ (‘teva‘ can also mean ‘word’). This commentary thread focuses on the power and responsibility of language and thought.
Noah was called a righteous man (Gen 6:9) and the dimensions of the ark suggest that he found refuge or dwelled in God’s name…
In Genesis 6:15, God tells Noah to construct an ark that is 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. Doing the math, some teachers note that 50 = 10 (yod) X 5 (heh) = YH and 30 = 6 (vav) X 5 (heh) = VH. The width and height can then be said to represent the two parts of God’s four-letter name — YHVH.
Proverbs 18:10 says “the righteous goes to find refuge in YHVH”:
מִגְדַּל-עֹז, שֵׁם יְהוָה; בּוֹ-יָרוּץ צַדִּיק וְנִשְׂגָּב.
The name of YHVH a strong tower:
the righteous runneth into it, and is set up on high.
— Old JPS, via mechon-mamre
This idea appears in a number of contemporary sermons, and I am looking for its source(s).
What went wrong at Babel, and how might the situation be redeemed? One answer, I think, is to be found in a whisper still reverberating from our shaky sukkot and the rustling of the lulav.
Alan Lew presents the Tower of Babel story (Genesis/Breishit 11:1-9) as the third step in an emotional path that also includes the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden and the conflict between Cain and Abel. Exploring this path, as outlined in Be Still and Get Going: A Jewish Meditation Practice for Real Life,* suggests new ways of reading these and other Torah texts and applying their insights in our lives.
‘…I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember my Covenant between Me and you and every living creature among all flesh, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh….’ Continue Reading
Before the first yearly portion, Breishit [“in the beginning”], ends, Noah and his sons are introduced (Breishit/Genesis 5:28-32). Similarly, the second portion, Noach [Noah] — which is highlighted by the Flood (6:9 – 9:17) and Tower of Babel (11:1-9) stories — closes with an introduction of Abraham and Sarah (then called “Abram” and “Sarai”) and their family members (11:26-32).