Gen. 08 – The Holy Altar

Genesis 8.1

The eighth chapter of Genesis follows the worldwide flood. The worldwide flood, as described in Genesis 7.17 – 24, was over. In this passage, The Holy Scriptures follow the Noachide Calendar, which is the original calendar, i.e.’ The Creation Calendar. The people of Israel observe the Jewish calendar. The Jewish calendar begins after The People of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt about 771 years later. The people of Israel are informed, “This shall be the beginning of months for you.” That was in the year 2428 FC. What is the point? Throughout The Torah, there are many deep wells that we may not be acquainted with. That is one of the beautiful values of learning in a group like Bible Talk, where there are many knowledgeable members with diversity who may contribute to our discussion to enrich our learning experience.

Genesis 8.1 begins with The Words, “God Remembered Noah…” That is not to imply that the residents of the Ark were forgotten. They were not alone. The Lord God was with them. Each morning when we arise from sleeping we are supposed to say Modeh Ani. This is our declaration that exclaims God is faithful to us. Verse one is making a statement that God did not forget Noah and the other residents aboard the Ark. God Remembers us every second of every minute of every hour throughout the day throughout the year. When God makes a promise He is Faithful to Keep His Promise. Let’s go a little deeper. All the life on earth except for fish and sea creatures was in the Ark. There were no rescue vessels. There was limited food supply. All life in the Ark was dependent upon The Lord God. No one in our present world is in a situation like that of Noah and the residents of the Ark. The Ark rocked from Starboard [the right side of a ship] to Portal [the left side of a ship]. The bow of the Ark would plunge down into the recess of a wave while the stern would rise. I vividly remember what it is was like to pass through four Typhoons / Hurricanes at sea. It was horrifying even though we believed in God and frequently prayed throughout the storms. It was challenging! No one could sleep! It felt like our ship would break apart. What is the point? To study at greater depth, please visit Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk, My Bible Journal (Cedar Hill, Missouri – B’nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC Publishers, 2013) p 50, The History of The Flood.

When Holy Scripture Informs us that God Remembered Noah, The Torah is speaking to each of us, especially those who feel frightened and tormented on every side. The Lord God is reminding us that regardless of our situation. He is understanding and remembering everything. The storms that threatened us will calm and eventually settle down. God is faithful! The key is for us to have faith in God like Noah did. I have faced collisions at sea, fires at sea, and the captain’s order to abandon ship. Was I traumatized by these events? Yes! Do I relive them? Yes! How do I react to the horrifying memories? Thank God, The Torah of The Lord calms life’s experiences. The Torah has the power to calm and restore every event we face in life. Thank God for The Torah!! 

The Torah informs us of two very unique events that are related by time and location. Genesis 8.4 Informs us that the Ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

Then the water diminished from the earth. Eventually, the ground was dry.

Mount Ararat is located in eastern Turkey on the Armenian border. Jerusalem, The Holy City, is about 700 miles away. We know that Noah and his sons settled in the area near Jerusalem. That is crucial because it informs us Noah and his sons and their wives left the Ark behind. They traveled to the area where The Holy Altar was established. It is there that Holy Scripture records, “Noah built an altar to The Lord; and took of every clean beast, and every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on The Altar.” Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan States Adam was created from the dust of the ground in The Place, where The Holy Temple would eventually stand. After he and Eve sinned, he returned to the place where he was created and built an altar of atonement. He offered matzoh for a sacrifice. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Jerusalem the Eye of the Universe, {New York, N.Y. Publishers: National Conference of Synagogue Youth / Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, 2002} pp. 13,14

According to tradition, this is the location where Cain and Abel offered their tribute, where Abraham offered Isaac, and where David and Solomon offered sacrifices. Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll Tanach Series – Bereishis Vol. I(a) (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 3rd Impression, 1989), p 278.

What is the point? Throughout our history When we fail, We rite ourselves by returning to the location of The Holy Altar and offer a tribute or an atonement offering. The point is all of the residents of the Ark traveled with Noah’s family to the place of atonement. Noah was guided to this location by Ruach Ha Kodesh. There Noah, the king and priest of the world at that time, Built / Restored The Holy Altar and offered atonement for everyone. Our Sages teach that when we pray, we should face the east since our Holy Altar and Holy Temple was destroyed. Anytime we feel terrified and frightened, and insecure can right there at that spot face the east and offer a prayer in our heart. David taught us to ask The Lord to hide His face from our sins and blot out all our iniquities. To request that The Lord Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a constant spirit inside me. We plead, ‘Do not cast me away from Your Presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. O Lord, open my lips; and my mouth shall declare your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else would I give it; you do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. See Psalms 51

Dear ones, this is the message resonating from Genesis chapter 8.

Dear Ones, it has been wonderful to know that The Lord God Offers us easy ways to repent.  May we stay within Torah’s Guidelines Of righteous living and repentance. May we help others, May we bring peace and healing to our world. May this coming Sabbath and every Sabbath be a blessed Day.

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

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