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Noah: The Flood and the Rainbow
Video 21 of 22
Well let's isolate the centers. Look at it this way, and just take these two words, two phrases, and kind of meditate upon them, and ask, then how do they relate? Are they the same ideas? Are they different ideas? Okay, the center of Sabbath, the Sabbath text was human beings work six days, you should work six days emulating G-d who worked, who did Melacha for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath and there should be no work, there should be no Melacha on the Sabbath. Of course by Melacha now we're not talking about exactly the melacha that G-d did in creating the world but its analogous kind of thing with human beings, we also are little creators, right? If G-d is the Big Creator we are the little creator, we too mould the world to suit our needs, we too fiddle with things and tinker with things. Every time we cook food we're changing its chemical properties and we're tinkering with it. Every time we plough and we plant we're changing the world around us and we're taking [unclear 2:01], we're making it better for ourselves. These kinds of things are a process of Melacha. We too, the little creator, need to rest from those things once every seven days just like G-d the Big Creator. We're supposed to work for six days and the seventh day is the Sabbath.
Okay, so that is the Sabbath over here. Well let's turn our attention to the rainbow and look at the center of the chiasm over here in rainbow. That center says that there will be a sign of the covenant whenever G-d convenes clouds. We talked before about the significance of clouds that during the flood had been the prelude to destruction, so in the future whenever G-d convenes clouds, whenever G-d considers, so to speak, destroying the world, there will be this sign of the covenant and G-d won't do it.
Well now let's think about these two things, how do they relate to each other? The answer I think is that they are mirror images of each other, they're kind of opposites of each other, they're reflections of each other. We can see it by looking at some history. In each of these cases with Sabbath and with rainbow let's ask what happens before what it is that we have here? What are the events that happens before? So let's look at some history here. Let's look at Sabbath first. Work six days but the seventh is Sabbath. So the history is before we get to the Sabbath, before we get to this covenant - we have a covenant over here in the Sabbath text and we have a covenant over here in the rainbow text - so before we get to this covenant on the Sabbath, what's been happening? What's been happening is people have engaged in work, they're working, they're doing Melacha, every day during the six days they're cooking foods, they're burning fires, they're writing, they're taking the world, they're molding it to suit their needs. Okay so we would say that there is a creative process happening here before this covenant.
What about over here in the story of the flood? Before the covenant, before this rainbow, what's G-d been up to? He's been involved in this incredibly destructive process, He's been destroying and destroying and destroying. He's been taking apart His creation. Hmm, creating and then taking apart creation, two sorts of opposite things. If you chart the history the mirror just emerges.
Over here in the story of the Sabbath we're talking about mankind, over here we're talking about G-d, over here we're talking about creation, over here we're talking about destruction. In either case though destruction and creation stops. Stops when? Stops at the covenant. What the Sabbath is about in Exodus is this sort of intoxicating process of creation. For six days you're involved in creation and you're creating and creating and you want to keep on creating. So when mankind who was created before in all these six days wants to create again, the seventh day comes along and I want to continue creation, no, you have to stop. You have to be disciplined. You have to take a break from creation. Because only in doing so can the creation really exist. I have to stop in order to allow the thing to really exist.
Well if you think about it, there's two ways to destroy a world, one way is through what we might call the process of destruction, what G-d was doing with the flood, that's the mirror image over here. When G-d who was destroying before in the flood, convening clouds and destroying, so when He convened clouds in the future, some times in the future, and wishes to destroy again, G-d will stop. G-d will stop at the sign of the covenant. G-d will preserve His creation. There's two ways to destroy a creation. One way to destroy it is through clouds, is through rain, is through flood, is through destruction. Another way paradoxically to destroy it is through never stopping to create. If I never stop to create I destroy what I've done just as surely as if I destroy it with a flood.
What this is about - what both of these are about, is about disciplined creativity. How am I a disciplined creator? There's two things that I have to do in order to be a disciplined creator, in order to allow what I create to really exist. The first thing I have to do is I have to be careful with destruction. I could destroy once, I can wipe the slate clean, but then you're not going to destroy again, you're going to live with it and you're going to work with it and this is what G-d says after the flood, however bad humanity is going to get I'm going to keep it. That is one aspect of disciplined creativity which is a check on the power of destruction; I'm not going to destroy. But another way that you're disciplined in your creativity is not just by stopping to destroy but by stopping to create; I have to stop to create at a certain point in order to allow the thing to really exist. When I can do that, when I can be disciplined in the realm of creativity and disciplined in the realm of destruction - when I can do both, then I'm a disciplined creator.
It turns out, as we've talked about before, the Sabbath and rainbow really do combine to give you a sort of stereo picture. A stereo picture of what? Of disciplined creativity. Disciplined creativity is the merger of both, there are two covenants and each covenant is designed to achieve the same end, is designed to allow creation to reach its potential, allow the world to exist. If we think about the holiness of the Sabbath, what it is that we celebrate on the Sabbath, what is it that we're celebrating? We're celebrating is a kind of creative process - a kind of creative process that terminates in rest. In the words of the verse over here, in the Sabbath in Exodus; The Sabbath is a sign between Me and the Children of Israel that in six days G-d made heaven and the earth and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested. What are we doing on the Sabbath? We are celebrating a kind of creativity. We're celebrating a kind of six days of work that culminates in a seventh day of rest.
We asked before why would the one little window that we have into G-d's world, what it's like to be G-d, the one little piece of what it's like to be G-d that G-d chooses to share with us little creator, is how G-d reacted to His own rest? In the words of the verse; And G-d blessed the seventh day and G-d made it holy because on it He rested. I think that says something very deep. There is something sad about resting, there is something mournful about pulling back, it is hard to pull back. You know, when your children get married - getting married for a parent is a time of letting go. If you remember that picture back of the mother holding on to her child skateboarding, marriage is the time when you really let go. There's something happy about that but that's something incredibly sad about that. You can go and walk your child down the aisle and then you go in the next room and you cry, because the child is finally becoming separate from you, and is occupying a kind of independence that they never, ever had before. That's a kind of loss for a creator and it could be sad and the temptation is therefore never to do it. The temptation is always to hold on.
G-d says, you know what, let me share with you what it was like when I created. You know how I reacted to that moment when I had to let go? I was so excited, I was happy, I made Myself a celebratory day. I blessed the day, I made it holy, I was thrilled. You too should be thrilled. You should be able to let go and to be thrilled. That's the Sabbath. The Sabbath is designed to model for us what it is that disciplined creativity looks like so that we, little creators on earth, can be disciplined in the way that we create as well.
1. Water, Water Everywhere
2. Parallel Universes
4. The Sixth Day
5. Brave New World
6. Noah's World
7. Is There a 'Sabbath' in Noah's World?
8. Sabbath Echoes
9. Rainbows Have Seven Colors
10. A Bow In the Clouds
12. Chiasms: More Than Just a Pretty Face
13. Colors of the Rainbow
14. Numeric Centers; Thematic Centers
15. Taking Stock: Where Are We Now?
16. Sabbath's Center
17. How Tiring Was It To Create a World?
18. Rest As the Purpose of Work?
19. Positive Rest
20. What If a Parent Never Lets Go?
21. Conclusion: Two Ways to Destoy a World
22. Epilogue: Why the Rainbow Covenant is a Two-Way Street (Premium)
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