For example, Zornberg discusses the Flood, the swell of water that destroyed most of the world except for the protected animals and people on the “floating prison” (her phrase), the arc that Noah built. She points out the subtleties of Noah’s personality. He is able to be very strong and stoic -- no conversation, no sexual relations, no sleep while on the arc -- for a year of Biblical time. He just feeds everyone, all the animals and people that are left. This feeding takes all of his time.
However, when God tells him to leave the Arc and return to the world, God implies that now, good human communication and relations should resume. Noah is not able to return to normal life and take joy in the world. Although Noah physically leaves the arc, he remains silent and does not communicate. Zornberg calls this the “exile of the word”. The word is much more than speech; it is the living and alive communication and intercourse between people.
Two things: the notion that we may have to have a near total destruction before rebirth can begin, which many of our patients fear but some actually do experience -- both the near destruction and the rebirth. Some people, like Noah, cannot go through the rebirth but help others do so. It may be that those who have the power to lead others through the destruction cannot live in the actual world again. Secondly, this myth reminds us of the importance of communication, in the deep meaningful sense of the word. This seems to be what God was trying to encourage, in creating the destruction that made the world formless so it could be built again.
More to follow….