“Noah removed the covering of the Ark, and looked, and behold! The surface of the ground had tried (to see Genesis 8:13).” It is also possible to read the final phrase of the verse as, “the surface of the ground had been destroyed.”
What did Noah see when he first looked outside of the Ark after the waters of the Flood had tried? Did he he see a pristine perfect world, with everything fresh and alive? Or, did he see a beautiful world that was made possible only by the destruction of all that had existed before?
“The Lord spoke to Noah, saying. “Go forth from the Ark; you and your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you. Every living being that is with you of all flesh, of birds, of animals, and moving things that move on the earth, ordered them out with you, and let them team on the earth and be fruitful and multiply on the earth (Verses 15–17).”
God understands that Noah is torn between the beautiful future laid out before him and the past that was so devastatingly destroyed. God instructs him to go forth and build and be fruitful and multiply on the earth. God wants Noah to be focused on building the future.
Noah rises to the occasion: “then no I built an altar to God and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”
God responds to Noah’s actions: “God smelled the pleasing aroma, and God said in His heart: “I will not continue to curse again the ground because of man.” “All the days of the earth, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
More blessing follows: “the Lord blessed Noah and his sons, and He said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the land. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, in everything that moves on earth and in all the fish of the sea; in your hand they are given.”
Everything is moving forward as it should. This is a time of great blessing; that is, until Noah takes a slight detour:
“Noah, the men of the earth, debased himself and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and he uncovered himself with in his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside.”
One moment, Noah is the man of the future. The next moment he is the man of the earth, drunk and naked. Noah took a detour from his greatness and his mission. This detour is H’evinu.
The detour was made. Noah had to choose whether to return to what he was ordered to remain off his path: “no awoke from his wanting and realized what his small son had done to him. And he said, “Cursed is Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” And he said, “Blessed is God, the Lord of Shem; and let Canaan be a slave to them. May the Lord extend Japheth, but he will dwell in the tents of Shem; May Canaan be a slave to them.”
Noah awoke and rejected his detour and returned to his role as the builder of the future. He laid out the course of human history.
Many of us have our great and grand moments. We find ourselves on a productive path. We have a vision. We live as builders of the future. But then, all too often, we too take a detour and lose sight of our vision. H’evinu describes those people who, when they find that they have detoured from a healthy path, lose sight of their original vision and remain lost in their turn off their road to greatness.
Noah teaches us how to repair H’evinu: by taking a firm stand, making a loud declaration that we are determined to return to our original path of greatness.