This week – maybe a bit of a breather, maybe not. We read about Noach and that infamous ark Noach built using all manner of measurements that are unfamiliar to us today. Measurement – measure – in English is such an interesting word. We speak of measurement in mathematical terms, but also measured as a sense of calm, control, a presence that can be trusted. Is there a connection between these two meanings? Many of us were taught to measure twice, cut once. A sensibility of carefulness, of reasonable caution that accompanied preparations to cut be it lumber or fabric or words.
This past week I spoke at an evening set up by CIJA to honour our outgoing Premier, John Horgan. I spoke about how my father and most of his brothers worked the green chain at BCFP (British Columbia Forest Products – then situated at the junction of Jutland and Gorge Roads).
Working the green chain was almost a metaphor in my family for the hard but necessary work you did to enable payment for education. It gave people dignity, even though the work was rough and hard. I wondered aloud how we could use that image of a green chain as a metaphor for setting up different systems that would allow everyone in our society to have the dignity of work and purpose.
Noach obeyed God’s command to build that vessel, now mostly envisioned in children’s colouring books. But we too are a vessel of God, we too are commanded in Bereshit to find that ezer knegdo, that sacred intimate who will push against us, pushing us into living our true purpose, to our potential. But, how do we do this work without larger support systems – those green chains – to help pull us along? What truly will be the measure of us all? Something for us all to think about. Be a Noach!
May we all be worthy in our lifetimes, in our purpose.Rabbi Lynn