by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS NOACH 5764 BS"D
Ch. 6, v. 9: "Tomim hoyoh b'dorosov es hoElokim his'ha'lech Noach" - He was complete with his generation with Elokim Noach went - Noach was complete, lived on peaceful terms, WITH his generations, translating the prefix letter Beis as "with." Noach went with Elokim, meaning that he lived a life in consonance with Hashem's wishes. Although the masses arrogantly went against Hashem, Noach still got along with them because he did his own thing and did not reprimand them. Their attitude was one of tolerating him as long as he left them alone. (Ksav Sofer)
Perhaps we can add that although Noach created no friction, at the same time by not castigating his generation he was not able to influence them positively. Note that he built the ark over a span of 120 years, people asked what he was doing, he explained that Hashem was greatly displeased with their actions and would flood the world, and in spite of all of this he influenced no one to better his ways.
Ch. 6, v. 11: "Vatimo'lei ho'oretz chomos" - And the land became replete with corruption - The mishnoh B.M. (gemara 44a) says that when one verbally agrees to a transaction but has not completed the act that transfers ownership, although by the letter of the law may back out, nevertheless, the Rabbis are very displeased with this and they invoke a "mi shepora." This is not to be confused with a "mi she'beirach." "Mi shepora" are the first words of a stinging reprimand. "He Who punished the generation of the great deluge will punish a person who does not keep his word." Although we find in the verses and in the writings of the medrash that they committed numerous sins, we do not find that they did not keep their word. If so, why does the wording of the "mi shepora" mention the generation of the "mabul"? We do find that there was rampant theft. No doubt when one was robbed he would cry out indignantly that he was robbed. He would then go out and rob someone else, justifying his act by saying, "Bankrupcy, recovery of debts, a 'forced loan,' etc." This is surely a case of not keeping one's word. (P'ninim Y'korim)
Ch. 6, v. 13: "V'hin'ni mash'chisom" - And behold I am destroying them - Usually Hashem sends a warning by way of a limited punishment to a person to better his ways, often in the form of monetary loss, as we find by Elimelech and Noami (Megilas Rus 1:5 Rashi d.h. "gam"). However, here this was not possible because everyone stole from his fellow-man, thus their property was not their own to consider the loss thereof a punishment. (Rabbi Aryeh Leib Tzintz in M'lo Ho'omer)
Ch. 7, v. 8: "Umin ha'b'heimoh asher einenoh t'horoh" - And from the species of animal that is not pure - The gemara P'sochim 3a derives from the lengthy "asher einenoh t'horoh" rather than saying "ha't'mei'oh" that one should speak in a refined manner. This is most puzzling, as the Torah says "to'mei" numerous times when it warns against eating a defiled item or contacting spiritual contamination. The Dubner Magid says that when relating a story, such as here, we should speak in a refined manner. When it comes to delineating between that which is acceptable and that which is defiled and prohibited, the Torah has to express itself clearly and succinctly.
A halachic authority should be reluctant to immediately say "treifoh" when he has a question of kashrus brought to him. Only after being totally convinced that the item is "treifoh" may he emit this word from his mouth. The same is true when a "safrus" question is being answered and the ruling is that the item is not valid, "posul" should not be said until the halachic authority is positive that this is so (Kol Sofrim)
It was the custom of MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l when he had to rule that a food item was not kosher, to not say "treifoh" or the like, but rather, "es toig nit," - it cannot be used.
Ch. 8, v. 2: "Va'yiko'lei ha'geshem" - And the rain ended - We find the word "va'yiko'lei" in one other place in the Torah, "va'yiko'lei ho'om mei'hovi" (Shmos 36:6), - and the nation ended bringing. What is the connection? We sometimes see the precursor for an upcoming rain, dark clouds and strong winds. Often this is accompanied by rains in short order. However, sometimes things clear up and we experience a "false alarm." Why does Hashem bring a "false alarm," which causes anguish, either because people are hopeful for a much needed rain, or they sometimes needlessly put in much effort to cover items, bring them indoors, etc.? If we carefully pay attention to the wording "va'yiko'lei ho'om MEI'hovi" we see that the literal translation is "and the nation ended FROM bringing." This means that people pledge a donation for charity and they "end FROM bringing," they stop even before they give, i.e. they don't honour their pledge. By pledging they indicate that a donation will be given, but they are not true to their word. In kind Hashem sends a sign of precipitation in the near offing, but doesn't send it. (Divrei Yoseif)
Ch. 8, v. 11: "V'hi'nei a'lei zayis torof" - And behold an olive leaf that it ripped - Rashi brings a medrash that says that the dove indicated through the olive leaf that it preferred food from Hashem even if it would be as bitter as an olive, rather than sweet food from the hands of a flesh and blood person. We similarly say in "birkas hamozone," "V'noh al tatzricheinu Hashem Elokeinu lo li'dei mantas bosor vodom .. shelo neivosh l'olom vo'ed," - please Hashem, do not make us needy for a present from a flesh and blood .. so that we will not be ashamed forever." If we accept a present from someone, why should we be ashamed forever? Surely in the world-to-come there will be no shame. However, if we receive charity and the donour gives it to us because he assumes that we are upright righteous people who will use the donation properly, and instead we don't live up to this reasonable expectation, we will even be embarrassed in the world-to-come. (Rabbi M.M. Rivlin)
We also say "v'lo li'dei halvo'osOM," and not to THEIR loans." Why when mentioning receiving charity do we express it in the singular, and by receiving a loan, in the plural? We hope to never need charity, but almost everyone requires a loan, i.e. when purchasing a big-ticket item, like a house. Our prayer is to not require numerous loans, one to cover the other that we are unable to pay back. (Sichas Chachomim)
The Holy Admor Rabbi Chaim of Sanz had an adherent who helped support the Rebbe and his holy work most generously. When spending a Yom Tov with the Rebbe he noted that the Rebbe said the words "lo li'dei mantas bosor vodom" with much emotion and conviction. Feeling a bit slighted, as if the Rebbe was unappreciative of his donations, he asked the Rebbe in private quarters why he said these words with so much conviction and at the same time readily and happily he accepted support from him. The Rebbe responded that the intention of the words "lo li'dei mantas bosor vodom" are not in the slightest a negation of receiving support from one's adherents. "Lo li'dei mantas bosor vodom" is a prayer that means to not receive a donation from someone who feels that he is giving away his flesh and blood, i.e. one who gives because he feels compelled to do so, but is very unhappy about giving. He concluded that he had no such compunctions about any of his chasidim and surely not about this person.
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