SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS NOACH 5766 BS"D
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)
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