Noach – Building Yachts

Noach’s Ark took 120 years to build. Why did G-d choose such a lengthy project?  To give people time to reconsider their social and civil responsibilities, showing much patience. But they didn’t learn the lesson that we need to learn today again – to practice love rather than the international and societal antipathy we are witnessing today. Notes:
• I recall lecturing in Monaco one year and seeing the fabulously lavish yachts there, some costing hundreds of millions of dollars, taking 3 to 4 years to build and fit out.
• We read in this week’s Parsha, Noach, that he too was in the yacht-building industry, but it took him 120 years to build (and maybe that’s why he wasn’t given a second commercial order). Also, his was a much more spartan model without luxury appendages, and employing only a workforce of one, slowing the project down considerably.
• So, why didn’t G-d instruct Noah to go into the yacht-building industry and employ teams of builders, saving him all those years of effort?
• Herein lies the true purpose of Noach’s Ark. It was earth’s escape capsule for the world’s first close encounter of the third kind (if we use astronomer J. Allen Hynek’s threefold classification of close encounters) – which, unlike Spielberg’s version, ended disastrously. for the world.
• Noach’s task was deliberately elongated to give the world a chance to do Teshuva, reform its anti-social, self-destructive, selfish and exploitative behaviours.  Noach would explain, over 120 years, to all curious passers-by their unsavory future without reform. Over 120 years he told a lot of people, but they viewed him as a deluded lunatic – an early Howard Hughes, and the Ark, a Spruce Goose – until their own delusion became an unprecedented deluge.  
• We too today are facing an extended test – Covid. It’s taking time. Perhaps we are being given a similar message. Reform human society and start to practice mutual respect, care and love. Baseless hatred invites consequences. Let’s learn from history and avoid King Louis XV nihilistic and uncaring comment: “Après moi, le déluge”