Connection Between Noah’s Ark and a Sukkah

Based on a Chassidic Talk by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, on the 6th day of Cheshvan, 5743 (19’82),

Presented with permission, as translated and published by Sichos in English

Noah's ArkNoach” [the name Noah in Hebrew] derives from the word “neichah,” meaning “pleasing;” and the repetition of the word “Noach” in the first verse of the Torah portion of Noach [Genesis 6:9] corresponds to two types of “pleasing:” pleasing to [G-d] Above and pleasing to below. This is the idea of teshuvah [repentance]: Beforehand one was in an undesirable state; now, through teshuvah, he has rectified this in the manner of “neichah.”

The Torah portion of Noach also stresses the idea of the [future Messianic] redemption. Chassidus explains the connection between Noah’s ark and a sukkah. Sukkah is the idea of peace, as stated: “Spread over us the sukkah of Your peace.”[1] In Noah’s ark, the idea of peace was also present, for although all animals were there together, no animal disturbed or attacked another. This is similar to the peace of the future redemption, when will be fulfilled the promise “A wolf will dwell with a sheep …” and they will not harm or attack. [Isaiah 11:6]

This is the difference between Sukkos and Noah’s ark: The revelation of the festival Sukkos also affects the world, as we see that on Sukkos, seventy bullocks were offered [in the Holy Temple] corresponding to the 70 nations of the world. [Numbers 29:12-34] Nevertheless, this was only in regard to the nations, but not to a literal “wolf and sheep.” Moreover, the effect of Sukkos differed between the 1st and 2nd Bais Hamikdosh [Holy Temple]. In the first, the effect was open — the nations paid tribute to King Solomon; in the second, it was not revealed, and indeed, the Jews were under the rule of the Gentile nations.,

The revelations in Noah’s ark, on the other hand, affected even animals, all living together for a year in harmony — “the sheep together with the wolf.” This was similar to the future promise of “a wolf will dwell with a sheep” — and this is the connection between the Torah portion of Noach and the future redemption.

Since such a thing (the revelations of the future) once existed (in Noah’s ark), it follows that now it is much easier to effect the future revelation. Moreover, the revelation in Noah’s ark was in a time when the world was in such a low state that they received the punishment of the Flood. Certainly then, after Mattan Torah [the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai] and after the [Divine] service of Jews throughout the generations, it is now much easier to bring the future redemption.

Just as the greatness of Noah’s ark was the result of one man’s service, Noah, so too the individual service of each Jew in Torah and mitzvos hastens the future redemption.

May it be G-d’s will that through our deeds we speedily merit the true and complete redemption — through our righteous Moshiach, when the promise “a wolf will dwell with a sheep” will be fulfilled — both literally, and in regard to the nations of the world.

Footnotes:

[1] From the traditional Jewish liturgy [Siddur].

 

A Noahide in India submitted his following personal thoughts about the Jewish festival of Sukkot:

Sukkot, like so many Jewish festivals, is a celebration and/or remembrance of a connection with, nay, dependence on, G-d. For me as a Noahide, Sukkot signifies G-d’s love and caring for us.  We don’t need grand palaces to survive and prosper. We need to trust and obey G-d. For He made a wolf live with a sheep in Noah’s ark. Isn’t that what we all want! A society without jealousy, without hatred,  a society where people don’t “eat  one another alive”! The meaning of Sukkot reminds me of the wise frugality of a righteous life. The great Flood affected the wicked people equally whether they were of rank or commoners, educated or illiterate and so on. To be honest, there festivals in my country of India which also signify these concepts, but from a non-Torah perspective. But I always feel that the Jewish Biblical festivals signify the relation of the physical with the abstract; the mundane with the higher (G-dly) purpose.

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