This is the time to study Noah, when the waters are rising.
Aseh l’cha tevah,” God said. Make yourself an ark.

On the front end of dawn, there are no distinctions between water and land and sky.
Only mist and darkness.
Distinctions emerge later, riding on a flood of sunlight.
Distinctions and information require choices.

The sea is calm this morning. The waves are gentle.

The data are in, said our local county supervisor this week.
The sea is rising. Erosion is threatening the coast.
We need to act to preserve our community.
If I listen hard,
I can hear echoes of other voices in communities around the planet,
saying the same thing.

“Make yourself a tevah,” God said. An ark.

Translate “tevah” as “word,” said our teacher the Holy Baal Shem Tov.

Build yourself an ark of prayer and knowledge and kindness and faith —
and the floods in your own day will not overwhelm you.
You will live to witness the fulfillment of God’s covenant:
the world will not be destroyed again.
It will not.
Hold on to this faith, even when all you can see is mist and darkness.
But build yourself a tevah.

Now it’s our turn.
We need a tevah big enough to include every person and all life.
We can only build it together.
We need action infused with love.

The lesson of Noah: get ready.
Emerging from mist and darkness: the rainbow.

Essay & photos by Aryae Coopersmith