Yes, of course, we have all known the story of Noah’s Ark since kindergarten, but we return to it each year, eager to find new meaning. Many commentators call upon us to find our own personal Noah’s ark. Indeed, each one of us must occasionally escape and find refuge from the “flood” around us. Rav Shalom Noah Berzovsky, in his book “Netivot Shalom,” explains this necessity as follows:
“Even in situations where a flood rages around us and everything looks bad, there is always a Noah’s ark to save us. When a person feels sad and low, the best advice is ‘make yourself into an ark’. Everyone has a divine spark within, that holds supreme sources of strength, providing the power to rise above it all. Everyone has a personal Noah’s ark that saves them from the flood. Everyone has something inside that is purely good, a unique capacity or quality, closely guarded in the worst possible situations, that will never be surrendered. It is this special something that saves us during the most difficult times. In our generation there are three collective Noah’s arks: the Torah, Shabbat, and Jewish unity. These are strong forces for good that enable us to prevail over the bad that surrounds us. But this parasha does not belong to any single generation. It is for every generation to study, until the end of time, for no matter how bleak the situation may appear to be, we can always escape to and hang on to what is uniquely good inside of us.”
So what’s your Noah’s ark?