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Was Noah Really For the Birds?

Was Noah Really For the Birds?

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dove.jpg

What’s with the Bird's, Noah.

Why did Noah first send out the raven to check out if the land had dried after the flood and then a dove, until the dove no longer returns. The raven represents discipline. The dove represents sensitivity.

Noah first sends out the raven to check out if the land has dried after the flood. He then sent a dove, once, twice, three times – until the dove no longer returns, indicating that it had found a dry resting place.

The raven represents gevurah – severity/judgment/discipline. The dove represents chesed or tiferet – love/sensitivity/compassion. Noah felt that after the people had abused G‑d’s gifts and corrupted the entire world, now the only way to go is with severity and discipline.

Like a delinquent child, Noah felt that the only way to begin life anew after the colossal failure of mankind was through the “raven’s” law and justice. Since “the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Noach 8:21), the predominant force in life has to be aggressive judgment and discipline.

Noah was wrong.

It was not the aggressive raven but the compassionate dove that discovered the dry land. It is the dove that first returns with an olive branch in its beak, and then becomes the first creature to return to dry land, demonstrating that even after the great crimes and corruption of the flood generation, we do not give up hope on the human race.

Even after bitter disappointment, even after destruction we do not become bitter and hardened. Yes, we have been humbled, but we still recognize that the primary driving force in life must be love and compassion. Discipline is necessary, but only as a sub-set of love.

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