Noah: Break out of your arc of comfort

 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