When the Deadly Waters
Settle, How Should We Leave the Ark?
     After the storm, after the waiting, after the offering, and after God's promise, Noah did something he had never before done in his 600 years of living... he lost himself.
Things started going sideways when Noah invented one of humanity's most enduring traditions: washing the catastrophic down with a stiff drink. Thoroughly imbibed (and perhaps overly fond of things that are two-of-a-kind) Noah inadvertently exposed himself while passing out.
Beyond the usual problems one would expect to result from drunken nudity, the circumstances of Noah's life add a specific challenge for us, the readers, concerning his indiscretion. The additional problem is that Noah is no ordinary, run of the mill, 600-year-old man lounged naked in repose. Noah stands for something.
Genesis ### tells us that Noah was the one person in his day who God could call "righteous." Subtract one Noah from the Bible and it's a much quicker read: God created people. Then He decided better.
     In this regard, Noah is more than a man. He is a stand-in, a symbol, for the redeemability of human beings.
As Rabbi Itzhak Levy observes, "Noah represents the tenth generation from Adam. Ten is the number of righteousness, [later] evidenced by the Ten Commandments that God gave to humans." Moreover, "God is passing judgment on the earth in the tenth generation. Noah was six hundred years old; six is the number of man. six times ten--the number of righteousness--equals six hundred, the number of judgment upon man..."

Which is to say, Noah is the archetype for all of us who would strive to live righteously in a world more acquainted with corruption and violence (Gen. ## ##) than altruism and unconditional love.
And here he lies, butt-naked, acting the fool.
We should be grateful. We are fortunate that the Torah does not often repay its heroes kindly--with whitewashed biographies that casually omit their weakness and blunders. There is no doubt that Noah was a righteous man. But stepping off the ark, he stumbled. And, in his tender moment of over-exposure, we gain a cautionary tale. After catastrophe, we are to remain in step with righteousness, rather than overindulge in the immediacy of returning to the old-normal.

Noah is a symbol for the redeemability of human beings. 

And here he lies, butt-naked,

acting the fool.

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