Noah: Break out of your arc of comfort

Breaking news (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Breaking news
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
 This week we meet Noah. The literal translation of Noah''s name, Noach, also means comfort. Thus, “Noah''s Ark” can actually be read as “Comfort''s Ark”. The ark of comfort stands as an archetype of all the varied walls of protection we construct around ourselves. 
It represents the havens of insulation to which we cling. It is fitting that we read this parsha just as we have left the sukkah – the epitome of a temporal structure. The sukkah is an embodied reminder that all the facades of comfort that we build in this world are but fleeting in comparison to the ultimate haven we must take in our connection to the Divine. 
This week''s poem juxtaposes the comfortable numbness of an insulated existence with the dis-ease of the external world and her endless woes. The poem''s narrative traces the path of one who rejects comfort & complacency and opts rather to plunge into the waiting deluge of the world’s pain. 
Our arks of comfort serve the crucial purpose of protecting and nurturing us. But perhaps their even greater purpose is to provoke us to transcend their very casing; to be the cage which awaits our necessary escape.  
 What is your arc of comfort and what are its limitations? What is the comfort zone you are being called to break-free from? And what is one step you can take towards that transcendence?

 Ark Angel 
 The synagogue of my youth
 her sanctuary
 was my ark
 it arched above my bowing head
 its wood was rich and dark
 my eyes would rise up ceilings curve
 which like a wave''s soft back
 bulged with the waters of our prayers
 which crashed on heavens black
 we sat in twos or family fours
 like creatures far from home
 while thirty feet into the air
 ark''s belly was our dome
 our needs were met as sure as breath
 is given by G-d''s wind 
 our prayers were by attentive ear
 heard ere we need begin
 like flight of birds our voices rose 
 within this vessel cage
 while just outside the sound was heard
 of a world in stormy rage
 and at the apex of the roof
 of our inverted ship
 a window round of painted glass
 let fall a single drip
 the dagger drip cut through the void
 of our sustaining womb
 sliced through the prayer that filled the air
 anointing me with doom
 for this small taste which wet my face
 with water of the world outside
 could penetrate and transform space
 like the tear of an angel''s cry
 and all that was once safe and sure
 transformed before my eyes
 into an overbearing storm
 of sharp and fiery lies
 beneath the bonds of beams of wood
 my restless nature grew
 till i cursed the arc which suckled me
 with claustrophobic rue
 beyond the casing of the cradle
 beyond the arc''s curved arms
 the sea called to my safe-sick soul
 with all her worldly charms
 and i cried back to G-d and fate
 like jonah in the fish
 a prayer so frantic for escape
 that G-d fulfilled my wish
 and spit me out with open mouth
 from within the whale cocoon
 delivered me to dark dread sea
 like one thrown from the womb
 and suddenly my mouth was filled
 with salt alien to my taste
 while sights and sounds of curse surround
 my fateful fall from grace
 i tremble tread among the dead
 beneath sky sore with rain
 and faced with earth''s reality
 the flood became my pain
 so terror seized i tore through sea
 in search of semblance of ship 
 and found its curve beneath my feet 
 submerged to arc''s round tip
 suspended calm and floating there
 with just its top revealed
 was island apexed synagogue 
 which waters dare not conceal
 with weary want i climbed the curve
 which once had arched my head
 and from my mouth rained forth a song -
 a prayer for all the dead
 i peered into this hanging sphere
 through the window of painted glass
 and yearned for all that i had lost
 in the sanctuary of my past
 to be a bird caught in that cage
 or to be an angel on high
 i gazed as if into myself
 and silently i cried
 and at the apex of the roof
 of their inverted ship
 a window round of painted glass
 let fall a single 
 drip
 .