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Re-Wombing the Earth
Noah and the Flood





Each day I open up Facebook I see a message asking me: "What's on your mind?" What's on my mind this week is Water.  While our weekly Torah reading is the story of Noah, it is also the week that the scandal broke in Washington DC when Rabbi Freundel, an orthodox rabbi was accused of setting up hidden cameras in the mikveh shower room of his synagogue and making tapes of women, his students and converts, showering and preparing for mikveh.


What is a mikveh?  It is a ritual bath that is perhaps the most sacred feminine space. It is a virtual womb, a place to release pain, to cleanse oneself, to do teshuvah. It is a place where one makes oneself completely vulnerable, naked on every level before oneself, before God. This place that offers the opportunity for women's healing and transformation was violated and desecrated by one man's lust. Rabbi Freundel allegedly abused his power as a community leader and violated the trust of these women as well as their privacy. These actions are a form of spiritual rape.


This week we read the story of Noah.

We read of the waters that flooded the earth. We read of God who covers the earth with water, in effect, re-wombing the earth to make a new beginning for a world that had become perverted and corrupted. The Torah states: God saw that how great was Man's wickedness on earth, and how every plan Man devised in his mind was nothing but evil. And God regretted making Man and decided to blot Man out from the earth. And God's heart was saddened.(Gen. 5:5-7) The commentators ask the question: What was their wickedness? The traditional answer is that their wickedness consisted of sexual crimes and perversion. God responds to this devolving morality by deciding to "re-boot" the earth, delete this failed attempt and start over, by covering the earth in water and effectively re-womb the earth.


Water is understood by many traditions as an elemental representation of the feminine archetype. In this week's Torah portion, the earth is overwhelmed by this archetypal feminine energy. What relevance does this mythic view offer us for the challenges of the present moment?


Let us consider that we may currently be in the process of unconsciously
re-wombing the earth, as water levels rise and threaten to flood our earth.  We are certainly assisting this process through our inability to make necessary changes, but let us consider that on an energetic level, this response by the earth can be viewed as a natural process of restoring balance. Like the human body, the earth is a homeostatic system designed to maintain balance by adjustment and readjustment. It is a system that seeks to maintain balance between the tendencies for expansion and contraction, for activity and for rest.


Male/yang energy is understood as expansive, seeking, and perpetually active while feminine/yin energy is understood as gathering, receptive and nurturing.

Viewed through this lens, the earth has been thrown out of balance by an unchecked excess of masculine /yang energy- the forces of unbridled expansion, growth without restraint.


Whether we call those forces carbon or call them greed;

whether we call those forces greenhouse gases or the waste from too much ego;

they grow and multiply like a cancer in this body of Earth.

And Earth responds with rising waters; waters that threaten to engulf and
re-womb the earth itself; the feminine energy passively overcoming and overwhelming the masculine 
as ice melts into the seas.

The earth will re-womb itself.

This is inevitable, unless we consciously take action to empower this feminine energy in all ways.


What if we could take ownership of this need to recalibrate?

What if we could intentionally re-womb ourselves and the earth in a way that would not destroy life? What if we consciously employed the lessons from the feminine- empowering the feminine, in our world?

I suggest we might create true balance.


There are many ways to do so and our tradition offers many possibilities.

When we honor and keep Shabbat, taking the opportunity to rest from the active life of doing, making and accumulating, we are given the opportunity to release ourselves from the narcissism of me and mine and connect with the transcendent,

with yirah- awe and wonder,

with the mystery that is greater than any of us, but includes all of us.


In our Torah portion it is Noah who stands apart in his day.

His name means rest- for God finds rest in Him.  

God finds Noah to be favorable (Gen. 6:8). God finds respite from regret and sadness over creating man who manifests this wickedness on the earth,

God finds rest- finds Shabbat in him- as we find Shabbat in our embrace of the Divine.


What might it mean for the Divine to find Shabbat in US?


Our lives are not lived in isolation. Everything we do is interconnected.

When the Rabbis teach that if all Israel celebrated 2 consecutive shabbatot, the Messiah would come, they are saying that if there was a massive critical shift in consciousness, to honoring the sacred pause-

releasing the centrality of the individual ego for the sake of the larger whole,

for the sake of the whole system,

the Messiah would be upon us

as we would manifest the possibility for a global sanctuary that embraces
All as One.


In our days we are witnessing tremendous change as indeed, feminine power, like the water, is rising. Despite the dangers, women leaders like Malala Yousafzai, who was awarded the Nobel peace prize, are speaking out and being heard! In Israel the Women of the Wall are demanding their spiritual rights. In the Catholic Church nuns are speaking up for their rights as spiritual leaders, much like women in the orthodox community. The fact that I can comfortably stand before you as a Rabba speaks to these changes. And despite the perverted actions of Rabbi Freundel, he will be brought to justice because the historic tide against women's rights and respect for the sanctity of our bodies is changing.


I therefore ask each of us to consider this frame of reference when making decisions about our personal lives and our collective lives. We make choices in every moment. We are constantly barraged by a society that reinforces narcissism. Let us ask ourselves- at every moment- are my choices supporting the healthy rebalancing of the feminine in our world?


The feminine as an archetypal energy is inclusive, like the womb:
And Noah gathers in

Noah invites in all the animals- all the archetypes, all the diversity, the seeds of life into an ark that can sail upon the amniotic seas.


The archetypal feminine is nurturing and sustaining, as Noah nurtures all of this varied potential and waits patiently. The feminine is collaborative, cooperative and concerned with the collective.  Noah sustains the whole world in his shelter of bio-diversity so that the collective can survive and flourish. May we be as Noah -righteous in our generation. And may we re-womb ourselves on this Shabbat, and on every Shabbat to come.


This is my personal prayer:

May I allow my inner feminine to rise up like the waters and overcome my masculine drive for power, accumulation, and excessive individualism.

May I find the courage to let go of my need for control.

May I honor my body by listening closely to its needs.

May I honor the earth's body by respecting its needs.

May all my choices be a conscious reflection of the truth that our survival and ability to flourish is bound up with the collective.

And May we each find a place of honest prayer within our own hearts 

to speak truth;
a truth that heals and balances our world.






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