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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 6, v. 13: "Keitz kol bossor" - The end for all flesh - Rashi says that wherever we find adultery or idol worship destruction comes to the world and destroys the good with the bad. It is interesting to note that the next words of Rashi d.h. "Ki" are that their doom was sealed because of theft. This seems to contradict his previous words, that adultery or idol worship brings death. Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel answers that these two points are one. People committed adultery by first forcefully taking others' wives.

Ch. 7, v. 2: "Mikole habheimoh hat'horoh tikach l'cho shivoh shivoh" - Of every pure species of animal take for yourself seven seven - Rashi writes that seven (rather than only two) were to be taken so that upon exiting the ark Noach could offer some as a sacrifice. Rashi clearly indicates that sacrifices were later offered even from species that would later not be offered in the Mishkon/Mikdosh. In a previous parshas Noach offering it was pointed out that Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer ch. #23 seems to disagree, as he lists only species that are brought upon the altar as listed in Sefer Vayikra were offered.

Rabbi M. Shternbuch shlit"a in Chochmoh Vodaas reconciles Rashi and Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer. He cites the gemara Zvochim 115b, which states that before the erection of the Mishkon it was permitted to offer any kosher species of domesticated or wild animal, or any kosher species of bird. However, the Rambam hilchos beis habchiroh 2:12 writes that Noach built an altar on the site of the future Mikdosh and offered sacrifices to Hashem there. We can thus say that at that location, which already inherently had an abundance of sanctity, he only offered the species that would later be permitted, and on other altars he offered all other kosher species.

Ch. 7, v. 4: "Arbo'im yom v'arbo'im loyloh" - Forty days and forty nights - The rain that was the great deluge lasted for forty days and forty nights and destroyed (almost) all creatures of the earth outside the ark. This is a total of 960 hours. Although we have a maxim that a creature does not become negligible upon being mixed in with other items, i.e. a complete insect in a very large salad, nevertheless, the Yerushalmi Trumos chapter #10 says that it is negated when mixed into 960 times its volume. This might be alluded to here, when 960 hours of continual rain negated all the creatures on the face of the earth. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 8, v. 21: "Va'yorach Hashem es rei'ach hanicho'ach" - And Hashem smelled the pleasant aroma - The mishnoh in the final chapter of Zvochim says that there is no "rei'ach nicho'ach" component in a sacrifice offered on a private altar, so how do we have "rei'ach nicho'ach" here? As mentioned earlier on 7:2, the Rambam states that we have a tradition that Noach offered animals at the location of the future Beis Hamikdosh.

Rabbi M. Shternbuch shlit"a answers that since this took place at this very spiritually unique site, there might well be "rei'ach nicho'ach." He brings a compelling indication that the laws of sacrificing at the "mokome haMikdosh" were not the same as standard "bomoh" rules in the name of the Gri"z haLevi. The M.R. says that when Avrohom was about to offer Yitzchok as a sacrifice, Avrohom said to Hashem that he did not have the status of a Kohein, and Hashem responded that He had bestowed upon him no less than the status of Kohein Godol. Since at the time the altar was just of "bomoh" status, the mishnoh mentioned earlier also says that there is no need for a Kohein to do the service. We can derive from this that the rules for sacrificing at the future Beis Hamikdosh site always had the stringencies that were later required.

Ch. 8, v. 22: "V'yom volailoh lo yishbosu" - And day and night they shall not rest - The gemara Sanhedrin 58 derives from these words that a non-ben Yisroel may not designate any day of the week as a day of refraining from creative work, and adds that if he were to do so he would be deserving of death. The Mishnoh Vruroh in Shaar Hatziun says quite a "chiddush." He says that for a non-ben Yisroel to have the status of "ger tzedek," one who keeps the seven Noachide laws, he must make such a declaration in front of a beis-din. When accepting the seven mitzvos upon himself he may "at the same time" accept any other mitzvoh or mitzvohs that he chooses, including "shmiras Shabbos."

Ch. 9, v. 3: "K'yerek eisev nosati lochem es kole" - As the vegetation grass have I given you all - The gemara Sanhedrin 109 says that before the great flood mankind was not permitted to kill any living creature for food. This was now permitted. The Ramban on verse 9 adds that even animals were similarly restricted, and they were all herbivorous. MVRHRHG"R Yaakov Kamenecki asks from the gemara Sanhedrin 107, which relates that Noach fed a creature called "zikis" worms found in fruit.

Rabbi D.M. Silber cites the Rada"k on Yeshayohu 11:6 who says that the prohibition for animals to not eat any living creature was in force before the great flood because there was a limited amount of each species, and by devouring each other the creatures could become extinct. Since some worms found in fruit are not the offspring of a male and female worm (see Rambam and others), it could well be that it was this type of worm that Noach fed the "zikis."

The explanation offered by the Rada"k creates quite a problem. Why wasn't the restriction extended for a while after the great flood since there was still no large number of creatures of each species existent? This question is raised by the Sefer Ho'ikrim 3:14.

Perhaps we can answer this by saying that obviously Hashem did not COMMAND the animals to not consume each other, but rather, He put it into their nature to be herbivorous. This could well have extended for a while beyond their release from the ark, and possibly only changed after mankind started killing for carnivorous consumption. By that time they had greatly multiplied.

Ch. 9, v. 20: "Va'yita kerem" - And he planted a vineyard - The Mahari"l Diskin asks how Noach drank the wine, as it was from grapes of a newly planted vine and had the status of "orloh." Perhaps we can answer this based on the words of the Ramban, who explains that the prohibition is based upon the concept that there is some "negativity" of the very physical earth that is drawn into new trees, and it is only after a number of years that this is cleansed. If so, perhaps here, where the earth was just purged in a most powerful manner by the great deluge, there were no negative "spiritual minerals" in the earth to contaminate the produce. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 9, v. 25: "Orur Kno'an evved avodim yi'h'yeh l'echov" - Cursed is Canaan a slave to slaves shall he be to his brothers - This curse is not limited to Canaan and his descendants. Our verse states that he will be a slave to slaves to his brothers. This teaches us that Canaan's brothers will be slaves and he and his descendants will be enslaved to them. We find this fulfilled when his descendants were slaves in Egypt. Mitzrayim was the son of Cham and the brother of Canaan. He and his descendants had the status of slaves, as the verse mentions numerous times that Egypt is "beis avodim." (Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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