One of my newfound semi-retirement hobbies is creating puzzles. Although I may not be a true hobbyist or do-it-yourselfer, puzzle-making is something I enjoy. It's also a way for me to feel like I'm creating artistic wall hangings.
As an Armenian grandma, I was delighted to come across a puzzle titled "Noah's Ark Finds Shore" with a reasonable image of Mount Ararat in the skyline. Mount Ararat holds immense significance for Armenians, as it is a national symbol and believed to be where Noah's Ark landed, according to the Book of Genesis. It holds a holy status for us. The fact that it is now in Turkish territory, just across the border set by the Treaty of Kars in 1921, adds to its importance. Even from the capital city of Yerevan, Mount Ararat dominates the skyline. Preserving our heritage is essential, and I want my grandsons to grow up understanding this significant aspect of their culture.
As I worked on the puzzle, I couldn't help but think about the reality of the Ark experience. It must have been far from fun and pleasant! Can you imagine male and female animals, of every species, lining up in an orderly fashion to walk onto a plank of a gigantic ship? Once on board, the challenges continued with the gagging stench and relentless noise. Yuck!
Noah's Ark and the Genesis flood narrative are among the best-known stories of the Bible. Noah's faithful labor in building the Ark saved not only his family but all of mankind and land animals from extinction during the Flood. Afterward, God made a covenant with Noah, promising never to destroy all living creatures with a flood again. After the flood, God commands Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth".
As I pondered the Ark story, I wondered who took care of these animals by cleaning, feeding, birthing their young, and breaking up quarrels? Who milked the cows and goats and made the butter and cheese? Who washed and mended their clothes and prepared their meals? Who brought the rice pilaf? And most importantly, who else did God intend to ensure they would be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth?
The obvious answer and the missing piece to this puzzle - Noah's WIFE!
And yet, she remains nameless in the Bible and other historical documents, seemingly relegated to insignificance. Even her daughters-in-law are not acknowledged by name.
There are numerous speculative names for Noah's wife, but the most reliable one is Naamah. Unlike the popularity of Noah's name, Naamah isn't widely recognized and lacks celebrity or notable associations. Interestingly, the name Noah has been extremely popular for baby boys in the United States since 2013.
It's time to bring a female perspective into this narrative. After all, the omission of Noah's wife was noticed even by a famous and beloved mother.
Noah of old, and Noah’s dame, I think I never heard her name, But she went in tho’ all the same.
- MOTHER GOOSE
A captivating tale "Noah's Wife, The Story of Naamah," written by Sandy Eisenberg Sasson, enchants and uplifts me. It portrays God's dual trust in Noah and Naamah during the ark's voyage—Noah to save animals, Naamah to preserve all Earth's plants. Driven by purpose, Naamah journeys globally, discovering an array of vegetation. Diligently, she gathers seeds, bulbs, cuttings, and roots, filling an ark room with diverse flora: amaryllis, soybeans, wheat, lilies, moss, and even dandelions. Upon finding land and releasing animals, Naamah diligently plants each seed and flora, earning God's accolade as "Mother of Seed" and guardian of all plants.
As a historical fiction writer, Mom, and Grandma, I find the perspectives of both Mother Goose and Mother of Seed compelling.
From my perspective, the puzzle is now complete!
Dear Readers: This blog is presented to you as a lighthearted and humorous satire, intended to spark discussions about the untold stories of remarkable women who have been overlooked by history. Please keep in mind that this piece is not meant to be taken literally. My sincere hope is that you will enjoy this story and engage in conversations about it with others, as we celebrate the hidden heroines of the past.
Gay, R. M. (1922, July). Noah's Wife: Or, What's in a Name? The Atlantic. Utley, F. L. (1941). The One Hundred and Three Names of Noah's Wife. JSTOR. Sasso, S. E. (2002). Noah's Wife. Jewish Lights Publishing. Wikipedia.