Thoughts on Simchat Torah and on Parashat Noach: WHY ARE THERE NO DINOSAURS ANYMORE?

Simchat Torah:

It is time to begin rewinding from end to beginning and revisit  retell rethink the stories of the Torah. The words of the Torah have not changed, but we have, and every year we bring something new to our understanding of the text.

One of the profound ways that I revisit Torah with my community is challenging myself to write or tell a new story every month. Stories can reach the soul and teach in such a deep manner, too often in a way that a direct statement cannot. And let’s face it… who does not love a good story?

Rabbi Ben Bag Bag would say of the Torah “Turn it, turn it, for all is in it. Reflect on it and grow old and gray with it. Don’t turn from it, for nothing is better than it.”

Sometimes I feel when I turn to Torah and turn out a story, I learn something new that I had not even known myself about the text.

This story is dedicated to the pre-schooler several years ago who asked me the important question: “Why are there no dinosaurs anymore?”  Here is my story answer. Is it true? Maybe not. Does have it truths? Read it and decide for yourself!

Noah stood by the huge Ark that he had built. He was helping all the living creatures aboard.

God had told all the animals that they would need to get onto the Ark in twos. And many of them were good at following God’s instructions.

Noah let into the Ark a lion and lioness, a ram and a sheep, a male robin and a female robin. Two tigers, two eagles, two cranes, two of each kind of butterfly and two lizards and…

Along with all the pairs, a whole big group of noisy dinosaurs came up to get ready to get onto the ark. Yet the dinosaurs were not so good about following God’s instructions.

“Wait!” cried Noah. “I see you all there!” You can’t just slip onto the Ark!”

“Why not?” grumbled the dinosaurs.

“No creature can come onto the Ark without a proper pair or partner,” said Noah.

“Why not?” asked the dinosaurs.

“Because that’s the way God has planned it,” explained Noah. “Find your partner, line up nicely, and I shall let you into the Ark.”

Well dinosaurs are very argumentative animals. They are always disagreeing.

When the Allosaurus male went to speak with Allosaurus female she flipped her tail and turned away.

When the Baryonyx female went over to the Baryonyx male with a big smile on her face he just sneered back at her.

The male Tyrannosaurus Rex wouldn’t even approach the female Tyrannosuarus Rex – they’d been in a bad temper with each other for years.

So the dinosaurs who were fighting among themselves, started trying to match up with other kinds of animals that were not of their kind.

“Will you be my mate?” the Hesperornis asked the gazelle.

“I have a mate,” said the gazelle, “she’s flying behind me!”

“Will you be my partner?” the Tenotosaurus asked the rabbit. The rabbit just looked at this big tall dinosaur, laughed and hopped away.

The dinosaurs were getting more and more worried. For now so many animals were boarding the Ark. Each had a partner, and they could not find their own partners.

As they got more worried, they became more unruly, and even nastier to each other. They picked fights. They punched. They hunched. They hit. They bit.

While this was all happening God looked down on his creatures fighting and began to cry because this is not how God wanted the animals to act towards each other. God cried big tears. It began to rain… drop by drop.

Still no dinosaur had found a suitable partner.

“Make up and be nice to each other!” cried Noah. Find your pair and enter the Ark!”

But the dinosaurs were so busy being naughty and nasty that they did not even hear Mr. Noah. They did not even notice God’s tears falling faster and faster all around them.

The rain began to fall harder and harder, louder and louder. The flood was starting just as God had promised. And Noah was forced to close the door to the Ark with all the pairs of animals on Board.

Only one type of animals was missing…. The many different kinds of dinosaurs.

As the flood covered the earth, the dinosaurs were still fighting with each other. Slowly they were covered by the water until they were completely gone.

So forty days later, when the flood stopped, there were no dinosaurs on board the Ark. There were no dinosaurs anywhere to be found.

The Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat, and all the animals in their pairs got off the Ark, to start new lives. But no dinosaurs.

That is why now we only have bones and stories and drawings of dinosaurs. We do not see them in zoos, or at animal parks or wandering the earth with us!

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About Rabbi Linda Joseph

I am currently serving as Interim Rabbi at Tree of Life Congregation in Columbia SC, a Reform Jewish synagogue celebrating its 120th year. I love God, Jewish traditions, creativity and texts. I enjoy teaching, prayer, community and connection. Storytelling, making art, listening to music, writing, reading and cooking are some of my passions. I am blessed each day when I get to play with my dog Ben Bag Bag and my cat Khazar.

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