Published October 2021
“Who Makes Miracles?”
The story of Noah has eternal charm for the young, and deep meaning for the old. Who among us is not familiar with the story of Noah and the ark? The child sees it as a picture – the march of the animals, two by two, into the ark. The adult sees it as the terrifying warning of the possibility of the destruction of the Earth through man’s evil, which can be averted only by man’s greater goodness and the grace of God. The intriguing part of the biblical account is that God commands Noah to build an ark to save himself during the coming flood. It stands to reason that if God wanted to save Noah, he could have simply created a refuge for him and his family through a miracle. Why then did Noah have to make the ark himself?
One possible answer is that God was telling us symbolically that man must make efforts to save himself if he is to be saved at all. There is a time to rely on God, but there is also a time to rely on ourselves. Noah had to make the ark, for ultimately, only he could save himself by doing things for himself. This is important to understand. Certain things in life take doing or they will not be done. Specific values must be deliberately sought and taught or they will never be accepted. The future, then, belongs to those who prepare for it.
Rabbi Alvin Kass
Chief Chaplain of the NYPD