Isaiah 54- 55:5
Isaiah (prophet) c. 740 – 681 BCE
Just last week we were at synagogue singing the prayers for rain- “Tefillat haGeshem”. Israel wants the rain for the trees and plants that will blossom in (our) winter and spring. And wouldn’t you know it, here in Toronto the heavens opened that afternoon and again at night and it poured. I heard that it rained in Israel too.
Rain, like everything else, has to come at the right time in the right amount. We know that sometimes there are floods in one part of the world while there are famine and forest fires due to drought in another.
In this parsha we read about the sinning that occurred in the world. Gd was upset by humanity’s excessive evil and caused a flood to wipe out most of humanity and most of the animal world. After 40 days and 40 nights the rain abated and the world as it was known ended. Noah and his family had to start anew. Gd decided never to destroy humanity again. The sign of this resolution and covenant was- and continues to be- a rainbow.
Last week when I went for a walk in the afternoon rain I saw a beautiful sight. There was a rainbow set in the east sky against steel grey clouds. The unexpected contrast was gorgeous.
The rainbow is a magical thing. It is perfect semicircle in the sky made up of every conceivable colour. Gd has created an image of perfection to remind Himself that although Gd can achieve perfection we mortals can’t. As such we can’t be expected to behave perfectly. Our duty is to try to do the best we can.
In this season, this new year of 5775, those of us lucky enough to live in a country with true autumn can enjoy the colours of the rainbow around us.
The High Holy Days, also called the “Days of Awe” are behind us. The first readings of the Torah are about new beginnings, explorations and lessons. We prayed for rain but we want the right amount- not enough rain to flood the land and destroy life. It’s a prayer for good things in moderation and a reminder for us to appreciate the goodness and beauty that is around us in the world.
So as you go through the week notice the beauty around you whether it is beauty in changing colours, in the people around you or in the grace of day to day living.
Have a good week and a Shabbat Shalom,