Noah’s wife. Perhaps the most unsung hero of the Bible. “Hi Honey, how’s your day? I just got great news! you and me with our three lovely children and daughters in law, are going on a dream cruise! I’m just going to take the next 120 years to build this “thing”, which looks like a box the size of a football field with no windows, and bring 2 of every animal – at least – into it, and then, any minute, we’ll be on our way…”
How was dinner at their home on, let’s say, Sunday night, week 18, year 29 into the project? She packs him some snacks as he heads out the door to look for a rare something or another… “text me when you get there!”, she can’t say, “I did see in the news that stormy weather is expected in only 90 years, and by the way, don’t worry about me, the children, the house, the neighbors or anything else I wanted to talk with you about…”
Her name is no known and the word for love has not yet appeared in the Bible and yet, Noah’s wife has to be one of the most loving people ever.
Parashat Noah must also be the saddest Torah portion for the animals: In the Garden of Eden everybody was a vegan and now, humanity is officially starting to eat meat. Of course, there is a practical reason for nothing will growing on the ground when they exit the ark, but then the habit – lingers, and the compromise gets established as a way of life. Rav Kook and others (including my daughters) speak in length about this: there can’t be peace in the world as long as creatures eat each other. That is the ideal, but here on earth, we too work with our compromises.
I must be spending quite a bit of time in kita alef (1st grade) because slowly the whole world starts looking like their playground: it’s always someone else’s fault when someone is crying. Us teachers watch the constant “he did it”, “she did it”, as so often the same kids, in a variation on same situation, over and over again, as if trying to resolve something very deep within them – but doing so with another. We try to teach them to stop and say please and thank you and let’s share and please and thank you and let’s play nicely and please and thank you…. I wish we could go into the sandbox of the world and suggest a little nicer play there too.
Trader Joes close to Shabbat at the end of a long week and long day. The cashier says, “oh, looks like your bag is broken; here, take one, it’s free (Alameda county charges 10 cents per bag now), and I hope the rest of your day and your weekend is better”. I almost start crying. There is nothing like a small act kindness, one human noticing another and offering a hand, for no reason at all.