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Parashat Noah:Noah and the Vineyard

If you know Karpman’s “Dreaded Drama Triangle” - then a story about Noah must jump out at you. Clearly there is a Victim, a Persecutor and a Rescuer.

If you are not familiar with Karpman’s triangle - you can learn about it here

Genesis 9:18 brings us to Noah and his sons after they exited the ark when the flood was over.

In this brave new world, Noah planted a vineyard and became drunk. His son Ham committed unspeakable acts And Shem and Yefet rescued the situation. So we see Noah as the victim, Ham as the persecutor and Shem and Yefet as the rescuers.

According to Karpman - none of the roles of victim/persecutor/rescuer are ideal roles. The Drama Triangle is a toxic cycle that’s hard to escape. Even the rescuer is not altruistic - Karpman views the rescuer as helping the victim while taking away his power and keeping him feeling victimized

Luckily - there is a counterpart for the Dreaded Triangle. It’s called “The Empowerment Dynamic” and when done correctly can break the cycle of the Dreaded Cycle.

The victim can rise to be a Creator

The Persecutor sublimates to a Challenger

And the Rescuer becomes Coach or Teacher.

Read about it here:

Let’s examine the characters and see if they conform to the Empowerment Dynamic.

Ham - Examining the rest of Genesis - we see that Ham’s descendants enslaved other nations - We see that Ham stayed as Persecutor.

Noah - Did he rise from being a victim? Noah had an exciting and important part before and during the flood. Commentators differ on how righteous Noah was, and clearly Noah had a very active role until this point. After Noah’s drunken bout in our story - he curses one son and blesses two - and that’s the last we hear about him. Was his last recorded act - cursing and blessing his sons - an indication that Noah ascended to a Creator? Could his victimhood have been a temporary lapse after seeing the desolation of the world. It may very well be..

Shem and Yefet. Did the Rescuer become the Coach or Teacher? Genesis does not talk much about Yefet so we will concentrate on Shem. I believe that Shem very beautifully combined the role of rescuer and teacher. Shem was the ancestor of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the children of Israel. Teaching, adding value to other people and being a Light to the Nations are hallmarks of Shem’s descendents. In addition, commentators tell us that Shem started a school with his descendent Ever. And …. Abraham does continue as a rescuer/teacher as we see in the war of the Four Kings against the Five Kings .Abraham saved the King of Sodom and taught him appropriate behavior when winning a war

Let us learn from Shem and Abraham that it’s possible to break the Dreaded Cycle and transcend to the Empowerment Dynamic. Rescuing people is wonderful, helping others is praiseworthy. When we see victims - Let’s assist them and also coach, teach, and motivate and empower.

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