ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah
Make yourself an ARK of gopher wood. (Genesis 6:14)
You may know that I built an ARK! We use it in the large sanctuary at Temple Micah. However, it is nothing like Noah’s! Even though the English word we use for our Torah-holding ARK and Noah’s life-preserving, floating-zoo ARK is the same word… the Hebrew words are different. I built an Aron and Noah built a Tayvah.
I got to wondering, if I could build an ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah like Noah’s … or maybe I already have? There is another place of ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah construction in the Torah. On the surface it is nothing like Noah’s ARK. We find this other occurence of ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah making when Yochebed and Miriam are fretting what to do about the newborn baby boy who seems destined to be murdered by Pharaoh. Miriam constructs an ARK to preserve the life of her new baby brother as they offer him (and the fate of the Israelites) into the Nile.
Noah and Miriam’s ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah have a lot in common and suggest that we all may be ARK builders, or at least we should become ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah builders. Someone created both of these constructs with the intentions of protection, preservation and transition. Each ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah served to shepherd people in a time of perilous change in their lives. As I see it, none of us escape the experience of transition and change. Pain and peril – physical, emotional or spiritual – often accompany that transition. All of us could use (or have used) an ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah to help us traverse the waters that brought us from one place to another.
If an ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah can be life a saving tool, what can we learn from the master craftspersons, Noah and Miriam, when constructing our own?
- An ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah just does not happen. It needs to be crafted with intention and care.
- An ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah is can be made to secure one soul or include many souls. The form is fluid, as long as the content is authentic.
- An ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah is not made to be lived in indefinitely, it is a transitory vehicle … if we never leave the ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah we are stuck.
Whenever we find ourselves in turbulent waters of transition, may our inner Noah and Miriam step up and help us craft the ARK – תֵּבָה – Tayvah that we need in that moment.