the torah studied as literature risks the danger of missing the big picture.
noah’s story is proof. a prestigious college’s lecture on noah, which i took in, focused on the argument that torah contains two flood stories. this ties in with the greater theory of that there are multiple authors of the torah. while there may be two flood stories, they are essentially the same. a consensus can most likely be reached that the story is that god felt that the world was bad and that he needed to do something about it. he told noah that the world was bad and he was going to destroy it. he told noah build and ark and put both his family and animals in it. eventually, waters would come and destroy the world. the ark would save noah, his family, and the animals and that they would be in it for some time. noah would eventually send some birds out to assess whether there was dry land. once the land was dry, noah, and his family, were to start the world off anew.
noah’s story, however, is part of three separate stories that are tied together. the stories of abraham and moses make the other two.
the most remarkable part of the noah story is that noah “never” speaks to god during the time he is lectured on the destruction of the planet and the building of the ark. he is silent. noah’s qualities are that of listening and following instruction. see genesis chapters 6-7.
abraham has a similar encounter with god. sodom and gemorrah are to be destroyed. abraham argues with god on behalf of the righteous. genesis 18. while the argument was brilliant, the cities were destroyed.
with respect to moses, he is confronted with a god who wishes to destroy the jewish people for their idolatry with the golden calf. he convinces god to not do it. moses then takes the ten commandments down from mt. sinai to deal with the people. moses, in the episode, takes on the responsibility for these flawed individuals and acts as both a teacher and judge to improve their lot. exodus 32.
all of these three stories connect. they are part of a “big” picture of business management. business management that is the functioning of the world of humanity in a moral fashion. god, as the chief executive officer tried and used a “yes” man. this was noah. he then tried the use of a “critical” thinker in abraham. finally, he found the “critical” thinker who was willing to show self initiative and take responsibility of a crisis. he had someone who knew the “mission statement” and who was willing and capable to teaching it to others.
in sum, noah’s story is part of the greater process revealed in the torah. it is a management story. the master of the universe sought and found workers and leaders to achieve his goal and vision for the world. with that, there are many qualities that are important. noah was great at following instructions. abraham showed courage to question the actions. moses displayed self initiative to fix problems. in our lives, we may end up in organizations. noah, abraham and moses collectively offer qualities that we should appreciate.
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