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    120 years, 120 words – No’ach

    The kabbalists point out that the Hebrew for an ark, tevah, also means a word.

    Human beings can insulate themselves from destruction by means of an ark, but also through the power of the word.

    If they are careful with their speech they can create a climate of kindness and civilisation, but if they choose the wrong words they risk spreading callousness and cruelty and no-one is safe.

    Like Noah it takes a lifetime – traditionally 120 years – to work on the challenge. It is never easy to prefer constructive ways of speaking but in the end this is what will save us.

    The rabbis say that the sword and the book came down to earth at the same time and each had the ability to destroy the other. The Noah story shows us how to ensure that the book will prevail.

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