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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 6, v. 9: "Tzadik tomim hoyoh b'dorosov" - Rashi mentions two opinions regarding the connotation of the word "b'dorosov." One opinion is complimentary while the other is pejorative. Who are the commentators who hold these two opinions? You can find them in a standard Mikro'os G'dolos Chumash.

Ch. 6, v. 11: "Vatishocheis ho'oretz lifnei ho'Elokim" - The Holy Admor of Kotzk interprets: "And the earth was destroyed, "vatishocheis," because the people gave priority to physical matters over Elokim, "ho'oretz lifnei ho'Elokim."

Ch. 6, v. 12: "Va'yar Elokim es ho'oretz v'hi'nei nish'chosoh ki hish'chis kol bosor es darko" - The Har Zvi asks why this verse does not simply say "Va'yar Elokim es ho'oretz v'hi'nei nish'chosoh." What is added by stating "ki hish'chis kol bosor es darko?" He answers that the first expression states that ONLY Elokim saw that the ways of the people was depraved. This would seem puzzling since some of the people themselves should have also felt the same. The verse then goes on to explain that the reason only Elokim felt this way was because "ki hish'chis kol bosor es darko," since all of humanity was depraved, it was seen as a norm by society, and only Elokim saw that all of humanity became corrupt.

Ch. 6, v. 13: "Keitz kol bosor" - The Holy Zohar says that the word KEITZ can be read KOTZ, repulsive is all flesh. The Holy Zohar says that this refers to the evil inclination, hates even the physicality of mankind. This was explained by Rabbi Zvi Hirsch, the son of the Holy Besh"t in the name of his father. The evil inclination not only wants the spiritual component of a human being to not be successful in its task and thus not reap reward in the future, but he even wants the physical component of the person to not have gratification, and talks the person into fasting and self-infliction of other deprivations, all with the intent that the person should be weakened and not be able to serve Hashem properly.

Ch. 6, v. 13: "Ki moloh ho'oretz chomos" - The word "HeChoChoM," spelled Hei-Ches-Chof-Mem, should represent the embodiment of the verse "Chilu Milfonov Kol Ho'oretz" (Divrei Hayomim 1:16:30), whose first letters spell out "HeChoChoM." But the generation of the great deluge acted as if "HeChoChoM" stood for the first letters of "Ki Moloh Ho'oretz Chomos." (Rabbi Chaim of Krasna, a student of the Holy Besh"t)

Ch. 6, v. 14: "Kinim taa'seh es ha'teivoh" - The Yalkut Shimoni remez #53 says that Noach either built 360 or 900 compartments in the ark. In an addendum to remez #54 the opinion of the Oruch is brought that he built 330 compartments. The Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 23 says that he built 266 chambers for food storage alone.

Ch. 6, v. 16: "U'fesach ha'teivoh B'TZIDOH tosim" - What does "b'tzidoh" mean?

1) At the end of a wall and not in the middle. (M.R. chapter 31)

2) In the uppermost third of the height of the wall. The lower 2/3rds of the ark would be submerged, and by placing the door higher, no water would enter. To enter the ark would require a ladder. (Ibn Ezra, Chizkuni)

3) On the broad wall called "TZAD," and not on the narrow wall called "TZELA." (Sforno)

4) At a location that is practical to enter any of the three levels of the ark. This is why the word TOSIM is used, connoting "placing with wisdom and forethought," as we find in Vayikroh 6:3, "V'SOMO eitzel hamizbei'ach." (N'tzi"v in Haa'meik Dovor)

Ch. 6, v. 19: "U'mikol bosor" - The Ramban writes that if we calculate all the species of domesticated animals, wild animals, and insects, and as well their food requirements for a year we will quickly conclude that even ten (Rabbeinu Bachyei writes even fifty) arks of the proportions of the one Noach built would be insufficient to house all the above. We must therefore conclude that it was by virtue of a miracle that it all fit into the ark. He then asks that if there was such an obvious miracle to take place, why did Hashem bother Noach to build such a large ark. He answers that by building a large one it would take much time and there would be ample opportunity for people who see Noach in his shipyard to ask the purpose of his activity. He would then respond with the message Hashem gave him and perhaps people would repent from their evil ways. He also answers that Hashem did not want to over-burden Noach, but nevertheless wanted him to build a large ark to partially minimize the miracle.

Ch. 6, v. 22: "Va'yaas Noach" - How long did it take for Noach to build the ark? The M.R. chapter 30:7 says that he spent 120 years. The Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 23 says that he spent 52 years.

Ch. 7, v.1: "Ki OS'CHO ro'isi tzadik l'FO'NAI bador HA'ZEH" - Please note the stress on the words that are capitalized. The Kli Yokor explains that the people of the generation of the great deluge robbed from one another, but did it in a cunning manner. As detailed in the M.R. 31:5, they stole little bits, each one having the value of less than a coin called a "prutoh." This amount could not be recovered in court. In spite of this, a person has a moral obligation to Hashem for theft. This is called "potur b'di'nei odom v'cha'yov b'di'nei shoma'yim." Although the rest of the people were "tzadik," righteous, in court, but they were not righteous in the eyes of Hashem. Noach, however, did not even do this type of theft, and was therefore righteous even in front of Hashem.

Another explanation is offered by the Holy Admor of Ozh'rov, Rabbi Moshe Yechi'eil. Noach could easily have behaved in a much worse manner and still been able to assuage his conscience by using the theory of relativity. Relative to all the other people he was much greater. However, he did not do that. Instead, he measured himself up to the absolute standard required of him by Hashem. This is the intention of the words "es ho'Elokim his'ha'lech Noach" (6:9), - WITH Hashem Noach went, always keeping in mind the absolute standard of behaviour required of him, and not being dragged down by the abysmal standard of his contemporaries. This is the intention of our verse, "tzadik l'fo'nai." You are not a relatively righteous person, but rather, you are a tzadik even when measured against My standards.

Ch. 7, v. 10: "L'shivas ha'yomim" - Rashi points out that there was a seven day delay in bringing on the great deluge to allow for the seven day mourning period for the death of M'sushelach. The Baal Haturim says that this is indicated in the words "l'shivas ha'yomim" whose numeric value is equal to "li'mei eivel M'sushelach."

Ch. 7, v. 23: "Va'yimach es kol ha'y'kum ...... va'yimochu min ho'oretz" - Why the duplication of the same concept that everything was eradicated?

1) The gemara Sanhedrin 108a says that the double expression indicates that they were eradicated from this physical world and also will have no existence in the world to come.

2) The Ibn Ezra answers that the expression "va'yimach" refers to the actual eradication of the people and all that stood on the face of the earth, while "va'yimochu" refers to the total erasure of the people, since they left over no descendants.

3) The Radak answers that the expression "va'yimach" refers to the actual eradication of the people and all that stood on the face of the earth, while "va'yimochu" refers to the total destruction of all buildings. This leaves no trace of the previous civilization, where one could have possibly said that these buildings are the remnant of a previous generation. This is a second level of eradication.

4) The Ramban answers that the second expression of destruction refers to the fact that besides the birds being destroyed, their eggs were also destroyed, thus leaving no opportunity for a continuation of their species beyond those that found safe harbour in the ark.

5) The Rokei'ach answers that the first expression refers to the destruction of the flesh of all living beings, while the second expression refers to the pulverizing and disintegration of their bones.

6) The Malbim says that the second expression of destruction does not refer to the disintegration of the bones, but rather that the earth swallowed up the bodies of all creatures and brought them deep into the bowels of the earth. He adds that this explains the archaeological finds of dinosaurs and the like found deep in the earth. The extremely old age placed upon these finds can also be explained even though the numbers predate the creation of the world since they are from a previous world that was created and destroyed.

The Haa'meik Dovor disagrees with this last point of the Malbim, quoting the end of the medrash that Hashem created worlds and destroyed them, returning them to a state of "tohu vovohu," vast emptiness, thus leaving over no vestige of the previous worlds.

Ch. 8, v. 11: "Vatovo eilov ha'yonoh l'eis erev" - When did this take place? The Daas Z'keinim says that it was on the 17th of Tamuz, while the Rokei'ach and the Tosfos Hasho'leim in the name of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshon say that it was on the 9th of Av.

Ch. 8, v. 20: "Va'yikach mikole ha'b'heimoh" - The Meshech Chochmoh points out that even though the M.R. Vayikroh 27:6 says that Hashem did not request that exotic kosher animals be captured and brought as sacrifices, so as to not stress people to hunt and capture these animals which reside in the wild, as this entails much effort and risk, here however, Noach brought sacrifices from all species of kosher animals since they were already within his control, being confined to the ark. However, Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter #23 says that Noach only sacrificed from the species that would be brought as sacrifices in the future. It remains to be explained according to the Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer why Hashem commanded to bring "seven seven" of EACH kosher species if not all species would be used as sacrifices. One answer might be that Hashem wanted the world to have a majority of kosher animals, as mentioned in the medrash. A second answer can be gleaned from the words of the Kli Yokor who says that Noach was allowed to slaughter and eat meat after the great deluge, and since he would only consume that which would be kosher in the future, Hashem commanded him to bring "seven seven" of all kosher species. Although one might wonder how the Meshech Chochmoh could disagree with the words of the Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer, I found that the Moshav Z'keinim says that Noach sacrificed from ALL kosher species. Although the Moshav Z'keinim is a Rishon and Rabbi Eliezer a Tannoh, nevertheless, the Moshav Z'keinim no doubt must base his words on an earlier commentator.

Ch. 10, v. 11: "Yotzo Ashur" - Who was Ashur?

1) Noach (Tosfos Hasho'leim, Tosfos Rid on Yoma 10a)

2) Avrohom (Medrash Lekach Tov at the beginning of parshas Lech L'cho)

3) Ashur the son of Sheim (Seder Hayom, also see Tonno D'vei Eliyohu chapter #20)

4) Ashur in this verse is not the name of a person. These words mean that Nimrod of verse 8 left to the place named Ashur. (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel)

Ch. 11, v. 1: "Sofoh achas" - The gemara Yerushalmi Megiloh 1:9 says that the universal language was "loshon hakodesh." A mathematical indication to this is that "sofoh achas" has the same value as "loshon hakodesh," loshon with a Vov and hakodesh without a Vov.

Ch. 11, v. 29: "Va'yikach Avrom v'Nochor lohem noshim" - The Yalkut Shimoni remez #78 says that Avrohom was 25 years old when he took Soroh as his wife. However, we see from the words of Tonno D'vei Eliyohu Rabboh chapter #11 that he was fifteen years old when he took Soroh as his wife.



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