The Parasha opens with the words “These are the generations of Noah, Noah was in his generations a man righteous and whole-hearted…”. The Holy Ar”i explains that the term “Tsaddik” (righteous) denotes one who knows to uphold the connection to the Sephira of Yesod.
According to the Wisdom of Kabbalah, it is our purpose to attach to the Creator. The Talmud ponders the question, how is this possible when God has been described in scripture as a “devouring fire”. The answer is that we are to cling to His “Midot” (traits, attributes) which, according to the Kabbalah, are the Sephirot. Trying to connect to the Creator is like connecting a home electrical appliance directly to a power station, which will cause the appliance to burn. The way to connect to the Upper Worlds requires that the Light pass through curtains known as Sephirot, or Midot. The Sephira which connects us to the Upper Worlds and through which all abundance flows to us is the Sephira of Yesod, and knowing this facilitates our understanding of the passage “the Tsaddik is the foundation of the world”. The Tsaddik is able to connect to the Upper Worlds, and Parashat Noah enables us all to attain this connection.
The Holy Ar”i explains that the three sons of Noah correspond to the three columns, right, left and center, which represent the three forces within everyone. The right column symbolizes the Hesed (kindness) of giving and infinite love. The left symbolizes the desire, impulse and need for receiving only for oneself. The central column is balance – receiving in order to give. For a person to live with himself, coexist in harmony with the world and be connected to the Sephira of Yesod, it is necessary that he has all three.
The Ar”i further states that when we draw a straight vertical line it resembles the letter Vav, similar to a pipeline that transmits abundance from above. The right kind of conduit, one that connects us to the Sephira of Yesod, comprises three vertical lines, or Vavs. The numerical value of the letter Vav equals 6, and 3 times 6 equals 18, equivalent to “Hai”, or Life. In other words, when we have connected with the Sephira of Yesod, we are actually connected to the foundation of life. The Ar”i also explains that the letter “ש” is formed when the base of each of the three lines are connected, and together with the letters “חי” (Hai), they make up the abbreviations for the names of the three sons of Noah – Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Yephet).
The Ark According to The Zohar and Kabbalah
The parasha describes the measurements of Noah’s ark: “the length of the ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits”. It would seem that Noah has built a big ark (one cubit equals about half a meter), but we must remember that all the living creatures had to fit into the ark for a year, which is illogical. We should understand that the Torah is not a history book, but rather a book of spiritual laws to guide us to live a full and rich life. The Zohar explains that the described measurements are for building a spiritual ark to protect us in the year that has just begun. In Gematria, 300 (cubits of the Ark’s length) is the letter “ש”. This means that the first thing we should build in our “ark” is the three vertical lines or columns—right, left and center.
How do we implement this?
The parasha continues with the words “And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence”. What is meant by “was corrupt”? According to the code of existence described earlier, corruption means using only the left column, taking for ourselves without giving in like measure. Robbery, deceit, injustice, etc., are acts of violence. The Zohar points out that in our era the prophecy of “the adversaries have become the heads” will materialize, that heads of nations will be thieves and takers of bribery, and that the land will be filled with violence. The generation of the deluge was a generation in which everything was permitted, one took whatever one wanted, which is a behavior that leads to addiction (food, drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, money, etc). When we live in a society where the left column of selfishness rules, we should not be surprised when this leads to disaster and collapse, i.e., a deluge.
We must therefore build a Noah’s ark, fortification against drowning in the flood of the violence and corruption that surrounds us.
In his article entitled “The Freedom”, Rabbi Ashlag points out that there are four factors that determine the course of one’s life: genetics, innate background (such as past lives), environment and education. Contrary to the genetic factor, we can direct the way the other factors affect our perception as to what is just and right, and manage our surroundings – friends, teachers, books we read, etc., and we must ask ourselves if our environment is one that connects us to the Sephira of Yesod, or not.
Whoever wants to be protected must ensure that he or she lives in a supportive environment that will connect him to the Sephira of Yesod, an environment that maintains tenets of giving to the community rather than achievement at all costs, an environment that supports mutual responsibility. It is when the majority of humanity realizes this can we reach a state of true peace and harmony amongst ourselves.
Mutual responsibility is not just a slogan; it is the definition of a healthy personal and societal condition of balance between the right and left columns, where each unit in society shares with others in the same measure that he takes for himself, knowing that this is the only way to attain security and genuine success. Only under such conditions can the flow of abundance and blessings reach every person and all of humankind.