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The Dove and the Olive Leaf

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Texts and Contexts: Noach

In this week’s Bible reading, Noach [1], we read about the dove that Noach sent to see if the waters of the flood had subsided and he could get out of the ark. If the dove came back it would be because the waters had not yet come down. If she did not return, it would be a sign that she had found a place to build her nest because the waters had gone down and she could get out of the ark.

The first time he sent the dove, it returned. A week later he sent it back and returned with a plucked olive leaf in its beak. A week later Noach sent it again and did not return. The waters had subsided and it was time to get out of the ark [2].

The image of a torn leaf in the beak of the pigeon in full flight became a very graphic expression of peace and tranquility.

Reading the texts describing how devastating the flood waters were, the question arises: where did the pigeon find an olive leaf in a world that had been submerged under water for months?

The Midrash [3] brings up two opinions on this........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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