(Lost In) The Flood

DovBear has his usual incisive posts on Noah’s flood. In short, it never happened. All evidence from geology and many other hard sciences as well as softer sciences and history show this clearly. And, guess what? Saying the Flood never happened does not make you a heretic or non-Orthodox – it just makes you alert and honest.

As Springsteen wrote:

Have you thrown your senses to the war, or did you lose them in the flood?


Filed under Divre Torah, History

18 responses to “(Lost In) The Flood

  1. I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but you really might want to check out Conservative Judaism.

  2. Neo-Conservaguy

    …only because Orthodoxy has moved toward a fundamentalist/littoral position over the past half century that was once only held by haredim. When it becomes wrong to question and debate the text, it’s time to leave the party, because they’ve actually left already. As I’ve heard several people say, “we didn’t leave Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy left us”.

    What he should check out is Conservative Judaism 50 years ago, but that too has changed as well – in the opposite, but just as bad, direction from Orthodoxy.

  3. avrohom

    you are NOT orthodox forget it. Open a Rambam you are a kofer an apikores meysis umediach.

  4. Anonymous

    Incisive post? I read it. Its am ha’aratzis.

  5. Yos

    Anyone care to offer a rebuttal? What evidence is there for a global flood?

  6. Anonymous

    600,000 ay’dim at Har Sinai is the proof.

  7. What, pray tell, is the proof for that?

  8. rebeljew


    It never ceases to amaze me how riled the masses get over the prospect that the most implausible story in chumash (Note I am saying NOTHING about the truth or falsity of the story) might be wholly allegorical rather than literal. After all, it changes Judaism not on iota if this story is allegorical, not sheva mitzvos, not Jewish descent, not Har Sinai, NOTHING changes. Yet, blood has been spilled over this proposition.

    Why must the label “heretic” being thrown at everything that is beyond kindergarten level understanding?

  9. rebeljew

    Also, when someone asks for “proof”, you cannot mix in canon. When someone says “what is the physical proof for X in the canon, you cannot respond, “the canon is th proof”. That is beyond childish. Obviously, a request for proof sets aside the canon, and the question is seeking external corroboration, regardless of the proposers actual attitudes toward the canon. As my kindergartner would say, DUH!

  10. avrohom


    the matter is the definition of judaism. maimonedes codified them and defined them. That is why those that dhere to these codes are riled up when others tend to change these definitions.

    I fully agree withoyu that these canonist defintion do not “prove” the veracity of these events; and i never attempted to “prove” nor do i care for that matter. all that “riles” up people is when the questioners claim that their position is consistent with judaism. It’s not. duh.

  11. rebeljew

    Which of the ikarim states that the flood is literal? Granted that Moshe emes v’Toraso emes, yet we have many things in chumash that are understood as mashal, like Motzi Shem Ra (we do not literally bring a sheet to beis din), ganva b’machtera (we do not literally distinguihs a day or night break in), and many of the avos and nach stories (Yehuda v’Tamar, Yaakov and Rivka lying to Yitzchak to cheat Esav) Shimshon and the “goyishe” Delilah, David Hameleh and Bas-sheva), and so too there are many times that kiruv Rabbis will deliteraliz certain things that do not play well to their audience.

    All of that said, why does questioning the basis of the Mabul violate ikarim and ths stories do not? According to the Sadia Gaon, brought in the piece at Dov Bear, it can be on the block based on illogic and implausibility, and inability to corroborate historically. No one is saying to discard the story or even the chasidus explanations that it represents, Tirdas HaParnasa, the travel of the nefesh Elokis in the Olam, the Moshiachdike velt of the Taivah, etc., they are just asking a simple apologetics question. Why is it so imporatnat that this story be historically, literally true, rather than just a parable / exaggeration like the other Torah stories that I mentioned.

    Once again, I remind you that we have not even begun on the actual subject of WHY it is an implausible story, I am just asking why it is so important that this is literal, that you would write it into ikarim.

  12. Yos

    It doesn’t matter if it’s tradition or great men say something is true. At some point logic must play a role. Would Sinai itself be what it is without the shock and awe? Eliyahu without fire from heaven?

    Did some grand Cherokee coyote deity hide evidence that the earth was created out of an egg beaten flat by the wind issuing from the wings of a giant bird for the sake of encouraging unsupported faith? Or whatever the NA Aborginals believe.

  13. avrohom

    bexause it is a klal in torah: “eyn mikroh yotzey midey pshutoy” (of course there are mikroos that speak poetically, but you want to deny that thereis a realm of “pshat” kpshutoy?? and say that this is consistent with emunoh betoyroh??) . And as we see here, also yetsias mitzrayim and har sinay are “allegories” and other clear kfiroh that have nothing to do with yiddishkeyt.

    i could care less “why” the flood did not happen. I beleive in the “pshat” of the torah. THose who do not do not beleive in yiddihskeyt.

  14. Neo-Conservaguy

    “THose who do not do not beleive in yiddihskeyt.”

    Thankfully, it is not up to you to define either Yiddishkeit or what qualifies for it.
    Face it: people like rebeljew can speak your language and argue with you on your own terms, providing excellent examples that refute your points, and yet you still would dare to attempt to define who is and isn’t a “believer” in Yiddishkeit? Pure chutspa.

  15. rebeljew

    I think what bothers Avrohom (not that I am speaking for him) is not so much Noach, but the comments on Sinai. And I would agree with him this far: There are deeper meanings in the stories, meanings that can be lost in the hubub of apologetics. The Torah has a worldview, and all that goes on in it is based on that worldview.

    It is no small thing to have to be satisfied that we cannot provide answers for what we see and reason and what is in the Torah, but we accept that, for now, there is no apparent resolution for questions that new knowledge brings. For those who would not or could not be exposed to that new knowledge, who learn mada only from the Torah, the question will never occur. (Intro to Moreh Nevuchim) But the Torah put mada’a, ie Breishis, first in the Torah, to show that true breadth of knowledge can only be obtained through understanding the reality of nature and then the Torah. Yet the Torah’s Breishis is full of questions and cryptic statements and stories, even before modern research enters th picture. The implication seems to be that this conondrum was designed into the fabric of Torah, an essential part of a Jewish journey. Figure out a resolution for Breishis and then you are allowed to go on to HaChodesh HaZeh. (But the Torah does not begin with HaChodesh Hazeh, no matter how much the fundies wish that it did.) But if we despair and say that we are not satisfied because we cannot resolve the Breishis questions, then Rashi answers that as well, that G-d created the world, and that is why things are one way and logic might dictate another.

    The Rambam’s son in law was perplexed about these things, so the Rambam wrote Moreh Nevuchim. We don’t have the Rambam, but the MN needs a new edition.

  16. Neo-Conservaguy

    rebeljew: Another outstanding comment – but we’ve had “minor Rambams” over the past century that were devoted to Torah AND philosophy AND science, and they’ve been attacked as heretics. You know, you’re so darn smart that I would ask you to be my rebbe if only you would stop mistaking the Hebrew letter “thaw” for “sav”. 😉

  17. Yochanan Lavie

    Rebeljew- rock on, dude!

  18. Yochanan Lavie

    PS: While not literally historical, Bereishit does contain some tribal memories in coded form. Every culture has a flood story. Maybe it’s a memory of the end of the last Ice Age, when sea levels rose. Similarly, some linguists think that human speech started with a single mother tongue, and then branched out into different language families. If so (and it hasn’t been proven yet)Migdal Bavel is an “explanation” for that.

    But the most important message of the Torah is theological/ethical: life has meaning, and the Diety cares about us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s