I’d like to take a traditional look at the story of Noah and the ark. By traditional, I mean look at the meaning of the story rather than arguing over its historical truth. Before the modern times, we read this story for what it could teach us about our faith, relationship with God and relationship with the world around us. Few wasted any time arguing over how big the ark would need to be to accommodate all the animals and their food.
So what does this story teach us? Lots, more than I have time for right now in fact. But a few tidbits to chew on. It teaches us that God demands that we work with God to preserve the world. That goes for our day to day moral behavior, which led to the flood. But it also applies to our moments of exceptional need. God could have levitated Noah and the animals for as long as necessary, but instead chose to make the salvation involve human participation. If the world is going to be saved, we have to play our part in it.
The story also teaches us that even someone who is so flawed that he gets drunk on the very first batch of wine and who has raised at least one son who thinks his drunken naked stupor is the funniest thing ever, even such as he can participate in defending goodness. God doesn’t ask us to be angels. It is precisely because we are not angels that we need Torah.