By Menachem Posner
It’s a story that has been told to children since time immemorial. G-d tells a man named Noah that He is about to flood the earth. Noah builds an ark for himself and all the animals of the world, and they survive the deluge floating above the raging waters.
But once we reach adulthood, we begin to wonder: What does this tale of destruction and salvation actually mean? Is the story to be taken literally? Why would a merciful G-d flood the earth? What did the people do that was so terrible? And why bother with a flood, if He could just stop creating them effortlessly?
The post-flood events are equally puzzling. Why did Noah need to dispatch birds to see if the floodwaters receded, and why first a raven and then a dove? Why did Noah, described in the Bible as “righteous,” get drunk right after finding land, and what are we to make of the disparate reaction of his three sons?
Take a dive into the deep waters with the expert guidance of Talmudic sages, Kabbalists and Chassidic masters in “Noah Decoded: The Epic Journey Continues,” the ninth course from Chabad.org Courses, which launched in 2015. Each one is given by a different presenter and focuses on a specific area of Jewish belief, practice or scholarship.
This course will be presented by Rabbi Mendy Gutnick, director of Chabad of West Parkland, Fla., and a popular lecturer in the Southeast Florida Jewish community.
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, the rabbi earned his rabbinic ordination at the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“If you are puzzled by the flood, or if you just shrug your shoulders writing it off as an ancient tale with no bearing on your life, this course is for you,” says Rabbi Zalman Refson, who produced the course. “Rabbi Gutnick will help you plumb the depth of Jewish scholarship and discover the deep truths embedded in this epic biblical narrative.”
The course will air on four consecutive Mondays at 9 a.m. EST, beginning on Nov. 27.