One of the most beautiful lessons in life can be learned from a phenomenon described in this week’s Torah reading – the rainbow.
Rainbows – with their mesmerizing colors – have mystified humans throughout the ages and been the subject of much lore and speculation. Of course, the Talmud has weighed in on the subject as well.
The rainbow, it teaches, was created at twilight, right before the first Shabbat of genesis. What then is the significance of the rainbow that emerged over 1,600 years later, after the great Flood, as a sign of God’s promise to Noah never to drown the entire world again?
What’s the connection between these two rainbows – the original one and the one that appeared after the Flood?
Five fascinating commentaries explaining the uniqueness of the rainbow, coupled with the Dubner Maggid’s parable of yet another bow – the archer’s – teach us the mystery of the keshet and its personal relevance to our lives today.
What we learn from all that is that the rainbow represents a paradox. It is a unique mix of light and clouds; it is radiance cloaked. Every human being in existence – every element of our lives – is analogous to one of its colors, and it is our job to harmonize all the hues of our lives into one beautiful rainbow.
The antithesis of the harmonious rainbow is a devastating flood. But finding the bright sun even in the murky cloud results in the most beautiful of phenomena – the glorious rainbow.
This applies today more than ever: as floodwaters rage around the world – the outbreak of Ebola, ISIS, Hamas, Iran, and now the latest attack in Jerusalem this week – we have the rainbow to give us direction.