Parshat Noach Sweet and Treats
This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Noach, tells the famous tale of Noah’s Ark and the flood. When the world became so corrupt that Gd determined it would need to be destroyed, Noach was commanded to build an ark to provide shelter for his family and at least two of all animal species on earth (1 pair of each non-kosher animal and 7 pairs of each kosher animal were brought onto the ark). Gd was specific regarding the exact measurements of the ark which Noach built. Once Noach, his wife, his three sons and their wives, as well as the animals were on board, a flood began that lasted 40 days and 40 nights. The waters rose so high that they covered even the tallest mountain. It took another year for the waters to subside and for the earth to be habitable again.
When Gd commanded Noach to disembark with everyone that had taken shelter on the ark, Noach built an altar and brought sacrifices to Gd. Gd then created a covenant that He would never again destroy the world and established the rainbow as the symbol of this covenant. The bracha (blessing) we say when we see a rainbow acknowledges this covenant:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֶלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם זוֹכֵר הַבְּרִית וְנֶאֱמָן בִּבְרִיתוֹ וְקַיָם בְּמַאֲמָרוֹ
Baruch ata Ado-nai Elo-heinu melech ha’olam zocher ha’brit v’ne’eman bivrito v’kayam b’ma’amaro
Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who remembers the covenant, and is faithful to His covenant, and keeps His promise.
Noach is commanded to be fruitful and multiply and populate the earth and instructed mankind that they may eat meat, but may not murder people or eat a limb from a live animal. Noach planted a vineyard, became drunk and fell asleep. The Torah lists the 70 grandchildren of Noach and their homelands – they will be the fathers of the 70 nations of the world.
The Parsha concludes with the story of Migdal Bavel, the Tower of Babel. The people got together to build giant tower to wage war with Gd. Gd disrupted their plan by causing each of them to speak a different language so they would not be able to communicate to complete their task. Consequently, they disperse and settle in different lands. The list of the 10 generations coming from Noach’s son Shem is listed at the end of the Parsha, the tenth being Avram, our forefather who would later be known as Avraham (Abraham). The story of the Migdal Bavel teaches us about the power of unity and the dangers when coming together for an evil task. This Shabbat, over a million Jews around the world will be coming together to keep Shabbat, as part of the International Shabbat Project. May our unity for good merit revealed good!
This week lends itself to so many different Parsha Sweets and Treats options! Blue rock candy could symbolize the flood waters and Fruit by the Foot could symbolize the specific measurements given by Gd to Noach when building the ark. Of course, rainbow candy of any form (or even a rainbow fruit salad!) and animal crackers are appropriate this week. If you like healthy treats, grapes symbolize the vineyard Noach planted after coming off the ark and fruit are reminiscent of Gd’s commandment to be “fruitful” and multiply and inhabit the land. Lego candy could represent the building of the Migdal Bavel and lip candy symbolizes the different languages that were given to the people to stop them from their evil task. Last but not least, bubble monsters (my childrens’ favorite!) could symbolize the pairs of people and animals that were given refuge on the ark as well as the listings of the 70 grandchildren of Noach and the 10 generations from Noach through Shem that end in Avram.