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Rabbi Arthur Segal’s love of people, humanity, and Judaism has him sharing with others “The Wisdom of the Ages” that has been passed on to him. His writings for modern Jews offer Spiritual, Ethical, and eco-Judaic lessons in plain English and with relevance to contemporary lifestyles. He is the author of countless articles, editorials, letters, and blog posts, and he has recently published two books:

The Handbook to Jewish Spiritual Renewal: A Path of Transformation for the Modern Jew

and

A Spiritual and Ethical Compendium to the Torah and Talmud

You can learn more about these books at:

www.JewishSpiritualRenewal.org
ALL ENTRIES ARE (C) AND PUBLISHED BY RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL JEWISH SPIRITUAL RENEWAL, INC, AND NOT BY ANY INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE OF SAID CORPORATION. THIS APPLIES TO 3 OTHER BLOGS (CHUMASH, ECO, SPIRITUALITY) AND WEB SITES PUBLISHED BY SAID CORPORATION.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: NOACH: RITUAL TO SAVE THE EARTH: JEWISH SPIRITUAL RENEWAL

RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: NOACH:  NOAH; RITUAL TO SAVE THE EARTH: JEWISH SPIRITUAL RENEWAL
 
 
RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: NOACH: RITUAL TO SAVE THE EARTH: JEWISH SPIRITUAL RENEWAL

RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL:Timeline in Parasha Noach:Developing Ritual to Save the Earth

RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL:Timeline in Parasha Noach:Developing Ritual to Save the Earth
 
The Timeline in Parasha Noach:
 Developing Ritual to Save the Earth and All Life
Rabbi Dr. Arthur Segal
 
Shalom:
 
I have had many many rabbinic teachers in my life. Certainly there are countless many in my past 18 year journey with ten of those years leading to Semikha-ordination.  I would like to dedicate this exegesis to my teacher in my post-Semikha study and in fellowship, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia, and one of the pathfinders in the Jewish Renewal movement. It is his writing on this topic and his study with me less than a week ago, which prompted my writing of this. 
 
When we read the story of  Noah, which begins at the end of the first parasha of the Torah {Beresheit} and continues and ends in the second parasha (Noach), many of us gloss over the specific timeline that is given to us. We can all quote and sing along to Gospel or folk songs with the words ''forty days and forty nights,'' but how many of us truly paid attention to the specific time references?
 
The Torah, we are taught, never uses even a letter without assigning it some lesson to teach us. ''Shiv'im Panim laTorah'':  "There are seventy faces to the Torah: Turn it around and around, for everything is in it." (Midrash Bamidbar Rabba 13:15). Yet here are specific dates, very specific.   We do not find dates again until Exodus, telling us of the times of the feast of Matzah and of the Passover. (Ex. 12:1-19).
 
Genesis does not tell us when Abraham was born, or even when the first brit milah was held. But we will see such a specific time line for the time in the Ark that it appears like the itinerary from a voyage on a cruise ship, with every port and event listed.
 
Along with this timeline are valuable lessons that tend to be overlooked.
 
It is very easy for us as self- proclaimed modern Jews to be dismissive of the Noah story as parable, waxing wise and saying it is a Hebraic rewriting of the Gilgamesh fable, stating that most cultures have a flood tale, and that paleontology proves it to be a story we can skip over as a Bubbie meiser  (Yiddish grandmother's story). In fact it is our modernity, and post-modernity, that makes the Story of Noah, most important for us today.
 
Allow to me to comment on something about the tasks of Rabbis. Talmudic Judaism never imagined a time when Judaism would become big business, as they abhorred the corruption in Ezra's Temple, and the money oriented priesthood. Rabbis were to do three things according to our Talmud Bavli Tractate Pirkei Avot 1:1: ''They [the Men of the Great Assembly] would always say these three things: Be cautious in judgement. Establish many talmidim. And make a safety fence around the Torah.'' This lets us know clearly the role of rabbis. We can judge and make decisions for the good of the community. We are supposed to teach, indeed make more rabbis. And we are to take the written law, aka Torah, and make laws that protect it, as well as to keep us from breaking the laws.
 
Our Talmudic rabbis could never imagine a time when Rabbis were acting as CEOs of mega synagogues, as fund raisers of millions of dollars, umpires, or actually having to behave as a Maitre D' at a Jewish eating society.
 
Just as individual Jews have an obligation ''not to stand idly by when a neighbor's blood is spilled'', ( Lev.19:16), Rabbis have an obligation to respond to challenges of their times. We can depend on our traditions, but not depend solely on them. We can use our texts to reshape , renew, and reconstruct Judaism when either our people, or society in general , calls upon us to do so.
 
In fact we are granted this permission in the Talmud: Rabbi Jannai  taught: "If the Torah had been given in immutable formulations, it could not have endured. Thus Moses pleaded  with the Lord: 'Master of the Universe, reveal unto me the final truth in each problem of doctrine and law,' To which the Lord replied: "There are no pre-existent final truths in doctrine or law; the truth is the considered judgement of the majority of authoritative interpreters in each generation.'' [Talmud Yerushalmi Tractate Sanhedrin 4:2.]
 
I will leave discussion as how one determines a majority, and who are ''authoritative interpreters'', to another day. Judaism has no finality in doctrine and new doctrine (literally teachings), are needed when in comes to humankind standing on an abyss of the Earth's destruction of life, this time not by a Flood of ha Shem, but by our own selfish will.
 
Let us look at the Noah story and make it our own for our generation. Let us concentrate on the timeline.
 
Noah was 500 years old when he had his three sons. (Gen: 5:32). Mankind did ''great wickedness'' and every thought mankind had, was '' always evil. '' (Gen: 6:5). The Talmud and Midrash go into detail of their horrid behaviors, and I cover this in Rabbi Arthur Segal: RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL:GENESIS 6:9-11:32:PARASHA NOACH:Rainbows All Over Your Blues
 
As we move into Parasha Noach we see a very interesting word to describe mankind's actions: Hamas. [Gen. 6:11]. It is some times translated as robbery, but God is not going to destroy the world because of theft. If He did, the wall that Wall Street is named for could not hold back the floods that would be sent today. Humans  behaved unnaturally. I am not just referring to the type of ''unnatural acts'' that our modern prophet Lenny Bruce, speaking as a the  Lone Ranger, in his ''Thank you Mask (sic) Man,'' when he asks to ''have'' ''Tanta (sic) the Indian'' and his horse.
 
 Noah's neighbors were out of synchrony with the Earth. They mixed animal species , they mixed vegetation species, they had incest that would make the Manson 'family' look tame. They objectified women in the most cruelest of  ways. And they did rob each other.  They ignored the seasons. They ignored the Earth and ecology. They consumed and gobbled from each other, all life, and the Earth itself.  Please read the above D'var on Noach for the gory details. So Hamas is truly extreme  terror. Humans made a Hell on Earth as well as a Hell of Earth. 
 
And God says in Gen. 6:7 He will ''blot out man,'' whom He "reconsiders..having made.'' And God only made Humankind one Parasha ago. My Duracel  battery lasts longer.
 
Our time line begins in Gen. 7:4. God gives humans a reprieve of seven days. In fact the Talmud says the Ark took 120 years to build. [Talmud Bavli Tractate Sanhedrin 57a].  During this 120 years, humankind had a chance to ask Noah, "Wassup?'' And Noah would have the chance of changing someone from their Hamas ways. But no one asked and Noah didn't go out of his way to teach either. [Midrash Genesis Rabbah]. However, Tractate Pirkei d' Rabbi Eliezer chapter 23 says Noah and his grandfather Methuselah did go out and preach to the masses, who ignored them.
 
Rashi says these seven days were for Noah to observe shiva  for Methuselah who just died. The Midrash says all the animals observed shiva  also.  But we can see how these seven days could have been a teach-in for mankind with God as the Rabbi. God plays the story of Genesis creation in reverse. The Talmud Bavli Tractate Sanhedrin 108b says He starts with the seventh day of rest, then the 6th day of Mankind's and land animals' creation,  working  back to Day One when the earth was 'astonishing empty' and only God 'hovered on the surface of the waters.'' And it was dark. There was no time. There was no day, and no night. (Gen. 1: 1-5). During these 7 days, God actually had the sun set in the East and rise in the West, to have time reverse. And Humankind scoffed.
 
(There is a Midrash that says the sun and moon set and rose backwards during Abraham's time, but he prayed all night, and God set them back correctly. Midrash Genesis Rabbah 42:8)
 
The Midrash also says that during this 7 day shiva for Methuselah, God sat shiva for all of the creatures He would be killing. (Midrash Genesis Rabbah 32:7).
 
The time line continues. Noah is 600 years old. His sons are circa 100 years old. And in this year, in the second month, on the 17th day, water came from below and from above. (Gen.  7:11). And it rained forty days and forty nights.  (Gen. 7:12), and then the flood increased. It tossed the Ark and the flood was not a cruise joy ride. The Torah uses words to show that it was terror in the Ark during the flood. The Torah has words like ''increased'', ''raised'', ''lifted'', ''strengthened'', ''increased greatly'', ''strengthened very much'' etc. And the Ark drifted. (Gen. 7:17-19). In fact it was tossed about like a child's toy boat in a bath tub.
 
And why water? A Midrash teaches that because there was so much animal to animal  sex (of different species), and human to animal sex, part of humankind's Hamas was an earth filled with the misuse of the fluid of life, semen. Measure for measure, God used water as punishment to wash this disgust away.
 
Before we continue we must decide what is the second month. The rabbis debate this. Is it the Autumn month that we call Cheshvan? The rabbis say that Adam and Eve were born on the first day of Tishrei. The rabbis call One Tishrei , Rosh ha Shana.  But it is not a New Year of the Jews, but a New Year of  Humankind. So the month after Tishrei could be the second month, i.e. Cheshvan.
 
Or is the first month, Nissan, which is also the Hebrew Rosh ha Shana when Hebrews became a freed people?  This would make the second month Iyar.
 
The rabbis decide it must be the spring month of Nissan, as the first month,  as that is when all of the other nations' sages consider the year to begin. This was the opinion of Rabbi Joshua.(Talmud Bavli Tractate Rosh Hashana 11b). But he did not base his opinion on when other nation's sages agreed that the New Year began in Spring, alone.  Rabbi Joshua based his opinion on when the constellation, Pleiades (Kimah in Hebrew), sets at day break and fountains dry up. But God reversed this to punish humankind and made Kimah rise at day break and made the fountains overflow.
 
Kimah is said to also be responsible for giving fruits their individual tastes and smells based on Job 38:31. One makes a beracoth not only for the fruit, but one to thank Ha Shem for the smell of  a ripe fruit. This 7 star cluster is known as the Seven Sisters and is in the constellation Taurus. In Hebrew Kimah is derived from the word for cluster.[kum=heap or accumulate]. Job 38:31-34 has God asking Job:  " Can you  bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?   ....Can you shout an order to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? ''   Talmud Yerushalmi Tractate Ta'anit 64a goes even further than Rabbi Joshua  in the Bavli, and says that Kimah is the ''cause of the flood.'' And what Zodiac sign is  for the month of Iyar? Taurus.

 
The Talmud Bavli Tractate Zevachim 113b gives more supporting evidence that Iyar is the month of the start and end of the Ark's journey. The rabbis speak of a large bullock, a giant Taurus if you will, who was in  modern measurements, 3 miles long, who could not fit into the Ark. Its name is Re'em. Noah strapped  it to the side of Ark, and Noah feed it. Some translate Re'em as a unicorn, but  using that view, based on its size, it may have been a giant rhinoceros. King David had a run in with a Re'em in the Midrash.
 
As an aside, April , corresponding to Nissan, was the first month of the year, until King Charles IX of France officially changed the first day of the year from April 1 to January 1 in 1564 in the Edict of Roussillon . This confusion caused many to still celebrate New Years on April One, having them called "April fools.'' In the eighteenth century the idea of April fools, was often posited as going back to the time of Noah. According to an English newspaper article published April 13, 1789, the day had its origin when Noah sent his dove off too early, before the waters had receded. The reporter said Noah did this on the first day of the Hebrew month that corresponds with April. The newspaper was off. It wasn't The Forward.  
 
Rashi uses the Seder Olam (ch. 4) and gives various reason why the second month could be either Cheshvan or Iyar. Rashi on Genesis 7:11 quotes two opinions on whether the flood began in Cheshvan or Iyar (the 2nd month from Tishrei or from Nissan). The rest of Rashi's calculations assume it started on the 17th day of Cheshvan. 
 
The Mechilta (Midrash on Exodus) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and the Midrash HaGadol on Exodus 12:2 say, "'This month is for you' - The forefathers did not count from it." This is similar to what the Mechilta of Rabbi Yishmael says on that verse, "'This month is for you' - Adam did not count from it." In other words, the entire concept of calculating months based on the moon and starting from Nissan did not apply before the Jews left Egypt. Similarly, Rabbi Avraham bar Chiya HaNasi (early 12th century) writes in his Sefer HaIbbur 2:5, the most important book written on the Jewish calendar, "Observing this commandment, that is the lunar month and the intercalation of the year, we were obligated only from the Exodus." Rabbi Yitzchak HaYisraeli (14th century) writes similarly in his Yesod Olam 4:2.
 
But for our purposes we will agree with the Talmud and Rabbi Joshua which claims Nissan as the Jewish first month, and hence Iyar is the month of the beginning, (17th), and ending (27th) of the time spent on the Ark. If we look at our calendars, the 17th is two days after Pesach Sheni, the second Passover.  Hebrews had this day if they were not ritually pure on the 15th of Nissan to partake of the Pascal lamb sacrifice. As with Noah, God gives us second chances. With our Earth today, however, science is telling us this is our last chance to do real Tikun Olam.
 
Almost all life was killed. The Torah doesn't mention sea life being killed, and a later Midrash tell us tall giants survived called Nephilim  which we revisit with the King of Og. The defeated King Og, given only a few words in Numbers, is now described at a giant with an iron bed, nine cubits in length and four cubits in width measured by "the cubit of that man" (Deut. 3:11). Targum Yonatan (an Aramaic translation) says that Og was one of the race of giants who survived the Great Flood. The Rashbam (Rabbi Shlomo ben Meir, Rashi's grandson, of twelfth-century France) says that when Og was a baby he was so big he broke his wooden cradle. Talmud Bavli Tractate Niddah 61a says Og swam  to the Ark and stayed on the rooftop for the voyage . Nephilim were half human and half animal from the aforementioned bestiality. They are mention in the Noah story (Gen.6:4). A Midrash says they were so tall, that the flood at its worst, only covered them up to their ankles.
 
The fish were spared because  they didn't partake in the Hamas-like unnatural acts of the land animals and birds. (Talmud Bavli Tractate Zevachim  113b). And of course the inhabitants of the Ark were spared. 
 
And the floods increased for 150 days. (Gen. 7:24).  And then the rain and fountains of hot water stopped. [Gen. 8: 3]. And the waters diminished for 150 days.[Gen. 8:3 ]. And the Ark rested on the 17th day of the seven month in Ararat, in what is now Turkey. That is Tishrei 17, the third day of Sukkoth. And the waters continue to recede  so that on the ten month's first day, one could see the tops of mountains. That is One Tevet, Chanukah's 7th day.
 
And 40 days after that, which would be the 11th month's 11th day, Shevat 11,  Noah sent out a raven and then a dove. To see why the raven didn't do what Noah wanted I again refer you to the above mentioned D'var on Noach. In seven more days, which would be the 18th of the tenth month, Shevet 18, Noah sent out the dove again. He returned with an olive branch. And in seven more days , on the first of the 12 month the dove went out again and didn't come back. Noah knew the dove found dry land. So we are told that on the first day of the  first month, One Adar,  when Noah was 601 years, the earth was dry but pretty muddy (Rashi). But Noah stayed in the Ark, and waited for the earth to be 'fully' dried. And this was on the second month on the 27th day. This is lunar year plus 11 days, or one solar year. It is Iyar 27.
 
The Tractate Perkei d' Rabbi Eliezar Chapter 23, states that during the year's voyage there was no sunlight. The only way Noah and his family knew when to feed the animals is because Noah brought special precious gems on board that sparkled in the day, and were dull at night.
 
What are we being taught? That fruit bearing trees, like olives, can grow just fine after a flood, without mankind around to interfere  with them. We learn that the dove would rather eat a bitter olive leaf than have to depend on Noah's (humankind's)  handouts. The cost to nature is too high when man interferes.  The dove, a symbol of peace, a symbol of light, due to is color, and even its name Yonah which sounds like Yom, day, does best when mankind is at peace and in synchrony with the Earth. 
 
We learn of the importance of the moon to give us our lunar months and days, and eventually our Mo'ed, our appointed times for agricultural tasks and celebrations, as well as our spiritual holy days.   And we learn of the importance of the sun to not only dry the land but to bring us light, and in effect control the seasons, that the moon marks for us.
 
And what of humankind? We are rocked about in a boat with animals for a year. We care for them. We feed them. We have to make sure they survive or a species could be lost. The Midrash says Shem took care of the cattle, Ham feed the birds, and Japheth  took care of the insects.  Noah took care of the beasts. One day he forgot to feed the lions, who bit him on his leg. We learn humility. We actually become the servants of other life forms. They are not there for only for our pleasure and usage. We learn in this new creation story, that we cannot think anthrocentrically. When Adam is told that he can 'rule' (Gen: 1:26) over every living thing, including 'herbage', and 'subdue' the earth (Gen. 1:28), it is part of the covenant that includes him not eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
 
We broke that contract.
 
Humans are pure before we broke our first covenant.  We have no yetzer ha ra. We are selfless, and not self seeking,  as God, a Heavenly Parent is providing every thing to us, like babies in adult bodies. With no yetzer ha ra, we would have never harmed the earth or other creatures. In fact, God tells us to be vegetarians, in fact vegans . We aren't given permission to eat eggs, or dairy. We are told we can eat vegetables, grains and fruits (Gen. 1:29). And we are naked, having no need of animal furs or skins.
 
So a new covenant is struck with humans via Noah. And this hasn't changed with the covenants made with Abraham or Moses for one wandering Semitic tribe, we call Hebrews. This Noachide covenant exists for all humans.
 
And in contrast to what God said in Gen: 6:7, He says in Gen: 8:21, ''in His heart'', that 'man's heart is evil from his youth', and that He won't 'smite' all living beings again. God puts on a  no-smoting patch. God in a sense is doing Midrash on Himself.
 
Humankind  hopefully learns, but God also learns. He made Humans pure in the Garden, thinking that they would be happy being in a perpetual, hopefully dry, Woodstock. He made man like angels for the first few hours of our lives. We were Pure. But He gave us free will. And the yetzer ha ra, like a snake wrapped around our mind, speaks loudly to us. If we let it, it can drown out the ''still small voice'' of the yetzer tov. And with that free will, we did not want to be angelic. We wanted to do our will. We ate of the forbidden fruit. And like an alcoholic who will find one glass of wine not enough, and finds that same one glass of wine is too many, as once he drinks, he cannot stop on his own will power or self knowledge, we have been eating and drinking things forbidden to us, metaphorically, ever since.
 
Note how 8:21 has God saying this promise in His ''heart.'' It is not at this time mentioned to mankind. He allows humans to eat animals, birds and fish. We cannot kill each other.  But we cannot eat of the flesh of  a live animal.(Gen. 9:4). And rather than say we will ''rule'' and ''subdue'' , when we multiply,  God says animals, birds, fish, and even the heavens and earth will have ''fear'' and will ''dread '' mankind. (Gen. 9:2). This is a clear warning to humankind that if not checked, as God warned Cain, before he killed Abel, that our yetzer ha ra, is at our ''door''   ready to pounce on us.
 
But God tells us, we can ''conquer'' our yetzer ha ra (Gen: 4:7). It is obvious to me, that the Noachide covenant, taking the Cain and Abel story into the context of this new negative Mitzvah of not killing our ''brother,'' (Gen. 9:5), includes the mitzvoth of not being a 'dread' to the earth and other creatures, and not putting them or ourselves in ' fear.'  The Earth is our ''door'' to our and our ''brothers' ,'' Home. This Home is the habitat for all ''moving things'' and ''herbage.''
 
God the makes a covenant out loud, not just with humans, but with every living thing. He says He won't produce another flood to kill any of us. (Gen. 9:11). Hence He no longer has humans subduing animals, but acting as equal partners with them in this Divine contract. Instead of putting fear into animals, fish, and birds, and by extension the Earth, mankind has an obligation to bring about peace and harmony, and an ecological balance with mankind and his/her environment.
 
And God's seal is the Rain Bow. Why? Because when the first time it started to rain again, Noah and his sons, as well as Mrs. Naamah Noah and the sons' wives would be scared to death.  Should they get umbrellas or run back to the Ark?  The Rain Bow, which comes with rain, tells them an umbrella is sufficient this time. When sunlight hits rain drops at a specific angle, the light enters the drop, is reflected inside, and then exits the drop. Entering and exiting the drop, the colors are separated. We see red light exiting from a raindrop because that drop is at just the correct  42 degree angle between our eye and the sun so that the red light coming from the sun is refracted, reflected, and refracted again right into our eye. Blue light comes from another raindrop at a slightly different angle. All the raindrops that are at a certain angle between our eye the sun form a circle in the sky. That is why the rainbow is a bow of a circle.
 
And this circle is beautiful to the eye. It reminds us that God and the Earth do quite well without humans interference. The Bow is a product of water and sun, to remind us that the Sun dried the waters of the deluge. And that in this combination of light refracted through water are all of the colors of the Universe, all the animals of the earth, all the different peoples on this planet, all the different colors of vegetables and fruits, all the different shades of various landscapes, from tan deserts, white glaciers, to emerald rain forests.  Indeed the Rain Bow is symbolic of the Breath of Life of YahWay Himself.
 
The bow  and arrow  was an instrument of death invented by Methuselah's son's (Lamech) son Tubal-cain. (Gen. 4:22). The Midrash tells of how Tubal-cain  and his father, Lamech, were out hunting, and Tubal-cain saw a deer. He asked his father, Lamech, to shoot the deer. The 'deer' turned out to be Lamech's great-great-great grandfather and Tubal-cain's  great-great-great- great grandfather. This was Cain, the world's first murderer. Tubal-cain's  sister is Naamah. One of Lamech's son's was Noah. (Gen. 5:29).  Lamech had many wives. Noah, the Midrash tells us, married his half- sister. The bow now becomes a symbol of life. 
 
And this leads us back to the unheard part of the covenant in Gen. 8: 21 and now 22: God will ''continuously, all the days of the earth, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.'' Unless if we humans with ''dread and fear'' ruin our environment, our seasons, with its food supply, are guarenteed to come to us. When we are spiritually connected to ha Shem and His nature, every sun rise and sun set, every new fruit in its season, as well as every rainbow, is a time to show gratitude, make beracoth, and ask God to keep our yetzer ha ra at bay, so that we treat the Earth, and all of its inhabitants, animals, plants and minerals, as our 'fellows' and partners in the Noachide covenant.
 
But the Midrash doesn't let us get away this easy. The Midrash Tehellim on Psalm 7 tells us that "Mr. Falsehood" asked Noah for a ride on the Ark. And Noah said yes, but only if you bring  a mate. And "Falsehood'' brought on board "Ms. Injustice." And they got off the Ark on the 27th of Iyar, the same day as the animals, birds, and Humankind did.
 
Falsehood and injustice are with us. Humankind was not saved with a surgical removal of our yetzer ha ra. We have it still and the Talmud says God always provides a cure for every problem. The way we keep our yetzer ha ra in check is via prayer, meditation, mitzvoth and ritual. Some Jewish communities during the Omer days of the 17th of Iyar to the 27th Iyar teach about ways to save the Earth and put these ways into actions. Others do similar during the Shabbat weekend when Parasha Noah is read.(This year October 24, 2009's weekend).
 
The Kabbalah tells us that  "taiva," the Hebrew word for "Ark," also means "word." Humankind has done a poor job of using the Earth as our Ark. Paraphrasing Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, we have each drilled a hole under our seat in our Ark, stating proudly, "Hey, don't bother me. The hole is under my seat."  We need now to use the power of words to teach to ourselves and others to fix these holes. If we do not we all will drown. While God promised us He will not destroy the Earth, He has warned us that we can, did, and may very well do again. We can prevent "the waters of Noah" (Is 54:9) destroying us this time, if we have the will to do so.
 
I would be remiss with myself if I did not end with a modern Psalm. Forty years ago, this weekend, I was at Woodstock with a half million of my closest friends. I was in a deluge, and it was frightening. Noah was not there to provide an Ark, nor feed us. Noah was not there to provide 'rest,' as his grandfather meant his name to be. Noah was not there to provide comfort, as the name his father Lamech gave him meant (Menachem). (Tractate Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer chapter 23).
 
In those days, we listened to the music and thought we could create the life that it depicted in our own world. We tried to find that life with the Summer of Love, a long Woodstock weekend of Peace and Music at Max Yasgur's farm near Bethel, New York and with be-ins, love-ins, dorm room all night rap sessions and other music festivals.
 
While Neil Armstrong was taking a giant leap for mankind in the summer of 1969, we were starting to take a giant leap for Woodstock. We tried to create a life of love, peace, and kindness with protest marches and taking over the offices of University presidents.  Music and its lyrics were always the constant even if our behaviors were incongruent. The lyrics always brought me back to the best ideals of Judaism.
 

Max Yasgur died in February 1973 and was interred at Liberty, New York's Ahavath Israel Cemetery.  I said kaddish for him.

Already, I saw that the quest for a world filled with love, peace and kindness was leaving most of my friends' hearts and mine. Graduation was on our minds and the Vietnam War was no longer a threat to us. Graduate schools, marriage, and economic security had become paramount in our lives. Going to the first Earth Day in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, and going to subsequent  ones, stopped.  Saying kaddish for a man who  just four years earlier, gave his land and had it damaged beyond repair, so that we could profess our "Woodstock Nation" and its glowing ideals was not enough. Something was amiss spiritually, and our Earth has suffered for it.

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going
And this he told me
I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm
I'm going to join in a rock n roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
I'm going to try an get my soul free
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the Garden.

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe its the time of man
I don't know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the Garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the Garden.

(Woodstock, Joni Mitchell, (c) 1969)

May Ha Shem make it so.

Shalom,

Rabbi Dr. Arthur Segal

RABBI DR ARTHUR SEGAL www.JewishSpiritualRenewal.com/books www.FaceBook.com/Arthur.L.Segal www.FaceBook.com/RabbiArthurSegalJewishSpiritualRenewal www.RabbiArthurSegal.blogspot.com
Jewish Spiritual Renewal
Jewish Renewal
Jewish Spirituality
Hilton Head Island, SC; Bluffton, SC; Savannah, GA
HILTON HEAD DESTINATION JEWISH WEDDINGS ; RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL
 
RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL RABBIASEGAL@AOL.COM

JEWISH WEDDINGS

CONTACT RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL AT RABBIASEGAL@AOL.COM

JEWISH WEDDINGS OFFICIATED BY RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: TRADITIONAL, INTERFAITH, CO-OFFICIANT, DESTINATION

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"One of the Joys of being a Rabbi," says Rabbi Arthur Segal," is working closely with the bride and groom and officiating at their wedding." He can do this with couples living near by or with couples having a destination wedding in the greater beautiful Hilton Head Island area.

Rabbi Arthur Segal helps develop a custom ceremony with the couple so that each word in the ceremony rings true to them. His ceremonies can range from the very traditional to what ever the couples desires. Rabbi opines that this is the couple's special day, and to treat each wedding as unique.

For those who are having an interfaith wedding, Rabbi takes special care to respect both traditions, again with total input from the couple. He will be pleased to co-officiate at weddings, using non-Trinitarian language.

http://jewish.server272.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/RABBI+ARTHUR+SEGAL+OFFICIATING+AT+BEACH+WEDDING+HILTON+HEAD+ISLAND+SC-781513.jpgRabbi Arthur Segal also will do recommitment marriage ceremonies with the same care as he does weddings.

Rabbi will work closely with the wedding planer and/or caterer to make sure the wedding is seamless, and the bride and groom can totally enjoy themselves on their special day.

Rabbi Arthur Segal is available, and actually prefers, to be at the rehearsal, to ensure all is going smoothly, and to get to know the bridal party, and family, before the actual wedding day.

For those that wish to have a Ketubah, rabbi will work closely to make sure everyone's name has correct calligraphy on the document, in English and Hebrew, so the signing ceremony is flawless.

For a beautiful gallery of Ketubahs go to JudaicConnection.com  (My couples receive a $15 shipping discount)

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Rabbi Arthur Segal tries to limit his weddings to Hilton Head, SC, Bluffton, SC, Palmetto Bluff, SC, Savannah, GA, and Charleston, SC, but has been known to make himself available elsewhere, even out of the USA. He will also conduct weddings and recommitment ceremonies on cruise ships.

In keeping with Jewish ethics, if the couple resides in Rabbi Arthur Segal's town, Rabbi will ask, unless there are some special circumstances, if the couple has first asked the local pulpit rabbi to officiate.

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JEWISH WEDDINGS

CONTACT RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL AT RABBIASEGAL@AOL.COM

JEWISH WEDDINGS OFFICIATED BY RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: TRADITIONAL, INTERFAITH, CO-OFFICIANT, DESTINATION

HILTON HEAD JEWISH WEDDINGSWWW.HILTONHEADJEWISHWEDDINGS.COM/WEDDINGS
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HILTON HEAD DESTINATION JEWISH WEDDINGS
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MYRTLE BEACH SOUTH CAROLINA  JEWISH CO-OFFICIANT WEDDINGS

 
 
 
RABBI DR ARTHUR SEGAL
REBBETZIN ELLEN SEGAL
www.JewishSpiritualRenewal.com/books www.FaceBook.com/Arthur.L.Segal www.FaceBook.com/RabbiArthurSegalJewishSpiritualRenewal www.RabbiArthurSegal.blogspot.com 
Jewish Spiritual Renewal
Jewish Renewal
Jewish Spirituality
Hilton Head Island, SC; Bluffton, SC; Savannah, GA
 
RABBI DR ARTHUR SEGAL
www.JewishSpiritualRenewal.com/books www.FaceBook.com/Arthur.L.Segal www.FaceBook.com/RabbiArthurSegalJewishSpiritualRenewal www.RabbiArthurSegal.blogspot.com
Jewish Spiritual Renewal
Jewish Renewal
Jewish Spirituality
Hilton Head Island, SC; Bluffton, SC; Savannah, GA