And we begin again. A good book is worth rereading as we do the Torah every year. This past Shabbat, we began the annual cycle of reading about the world’s most dysfunctional family.
Is there any emotion or problem that the first family and its descendants didn’t face in the course of many generations: jealousy, fratricide, cheating, lying, murder, rape, impersonating , broken hearts, lust, infertility, lack of confidence? God may have been the world’s first therapist.
But in these stories, there are universal truths so strong that they have lasted thousands of years and appear in the guiding books of many faiths.
The world and its promise were created and quickly went downhill. In fact, the word “hamas” is used to describe the state of the world in Noah’s time.
Next week we will see the result of human backsliding in the story of Noah, a man righteous in his time.
I can’t imagine any Torah story that has been interpreted so often and in so many ways. It’s a cute animal story for young children; it’s a devastating story of destruction; it’s a hopeful story of how to carry on.
A broad Google search (which I don’t recommend) turns up 58 million hits for Noah’s Ark Story.
The Lampert Library has dozens of books on the Noah theme. They range from picture books to Biblical analysis to Midrashim to novel length interpretations. And that only scratches the surface of what’s out there. Try your public library for other interpretations of the Noah’s Ark tale.
There are scores more but the following books are among my favorites:
FIC, Blake, Naamah, about whom we know little, is Noah’s wife. This is her story.
YAFIC, Napoli, Storm rages and 16-year-old Sebah stows away on Noah’s Ark.
E, Singer, Why Noah Chose the Dove. Noah listens to the boasts of all the animals but chooses the dove. Illustrated by Eric Carle.
E, Jules, Noah and the Ziz. The awkward, bumbling giant bird attempts to help Noah gather the animals but his strength is an impediment.
E, Bartoletti, Naamah and the Ark at Night. Noah’s wife sings to the animals to calm them in this beautifully illustrated book.
E, Marks, Og’s Ark. Poor giant Og. He’s helping Noah gather the animals but has no place to sleep. Noah rewards him in a very special way.
J220.95, Spier, Noah’s Ark. A meticulously illustrated classic story.
J220.95, Reid, Fox Walked Alone. Fox eventually joins a procession of animals on their way to an unknown destination. Poignant.
J220.95, Gerstein, Noah and the Great Flood. Intricate oil paintings enhance the drama of the story.
J220.95, Geisert, The Ark; After the Flood. Detailed architectural drawings tell the story.
J220.95, Jonas, Aardvarks Disembark. What happened to the dinosaurs? Read and find out.
J220.95, Rounds, Washday on Noah’s Ark. Poor Mrs. Noah. Think of all that laundry and where to hang it.
J220.95, Sasso, Noah’s Wife: the Story of Naamah. Naamah, Noah’s wife, is called up to bring seeds on to the ark before the storm begins.
J220.95, Rouss, The Litttlest Pair. The other animals on the ark don’t want the termites, but they end up being very important.
J220.95, LeTord, Noah’s Trees. Noah plans to give his trees to his sons but that’s not what happens.
J959, Feiler, Walking the Bible. There is also an adult version. Feiler travels to places mentioned in the Bible.