Most people know that the story of Noah contains the first reference to law: the Seven Noahide Commandments are seen as the minimal requirements for civilized human society. But what many don’t know is that there is a second set of “Noahide Commandments” derived from this week’s parasha. These laws are not about human society, but about the survival of all life on earth.
What does extending credit have to do with the evolution of sentient life? And what does either concept have to do with karma and conservation laws? The answer depends on whether your interlocutor is a cat.
Sefer B’reishit (the Book of Genesis) takes us into a frame of reference that is often inaccessible to us nowadays. It leads us into the deepest layers of human consciousness, before we were recognizably human. While paleontology can show us to ourselves only from the outside, B’reishit takes us inside our own seminal moments and shows us to ourselves from the position of what might have been.