Parshat Noah: The Ark We’re In
צֵ֖א מִן־הַתֵּבָ֑ה אַתָּ֕ה וְאִשְׁתְּךָ֛ וּבָנֶ֥יךָ וּנְשֵֽׁי־בָנֶ֖יךָ אִתָּֽךְ׃
“Come out of the ark, together with your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives”
All of us have experienced the “ark” effect at some point this past year. It can be summed up like so: the world outside is dangerous, and here in my ark, I am safe. The world in Noah’s time was a dangerous place. Leaving the ark meant you would drown. Even after the waters receded, one can imagine Noah’s fear of stepping outside of the ark into a world that he was afraid of. That is why God needs to command Noah to leave the ark.
The world has been a dangerous place for us too. Especially, in the beginning of the pandemic, leaving the house was as scary as leaving the ark. You put your life on the line when you stepped outside. Even with vaccines and low case counts, when the risk to our health is lower, the waters are still uncharted and the depths terrifying.
In past generations one might wonder why Noah needed a command to leave the ark, but not us. We have lived in the ark. We are still living in the ark. What if God told us at the end of Covid that we could leave our homes without concern, ditch the masks, the distancing, and the worrying about contracting the disease? I do not believe God will be so direct. I do believe however that this moment in the Torah is a promise that such a time will come. The waters will recede. When they do, like Noah, we are called to have the courage to step out of our ark.