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October 27, 2022
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How do boats float?

One must wonder how equipped Noah was to build the ark. According to Archimedes’ Principle, a boat includes specific features to ensure successful floating. One opinion is that the boat must displace more water than the sum of its own weight. It is difficult to know if Noah understood the terms buoyancy or gravitational pull. But spiritually, the understanding that space should be created to enable something or someone to exist is a principle even non-builders can adopt.

How do we displace or contract a piece of ourselves to make room for others to float? For others to feel lifted? For others to prosper? The Kabbalists called this action “tzimtzum.” God contracted Godself, taking a breath inward for the world to come into existence. The waters of the world are displaced as Noah’s ark begins its fateful journey. For any kind of creation to occur, something else must shift, disengage, diminish, or be reframed.

Where and when are we willing to move back to let others shine? Or what is it that we must give up or modify to let another version of ourselves move forward? Creation unfolds as creation adapts.

We are the builders of our own arks. We map out the blueprints for the ways our dreams take shape. And it is up to us: sailing may include a modification of the original journey. With each storm and crashing wave, we can choose to sink, or fight to swim.

May our arks stay afloat…shifting, turning, contracting, and ultimately, moving forward.

Shabbat Shalom


Rabbi Nicole Guzik is a rabbi at Sinai Temple. She can be reached at her Facebook page at Rabbi Nicole Guzik or on Instagram @rabbiguzik. For more writings, visit Rabbi Guzik’s blog section from Sinai Temple’s website.

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