by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS NOACH 5771 BS"D
Ch. 6, v. 9: "Noach ish tzadik tomim" - Noach a man who was righteous and complete - The M.R. 30:7 cites Bar Chatia who says that by whomever the verse says "tam" or "tomim" he lived a number of years that is divisible by seven. Noach's 950 years present a problem. Avrohom, Yaakov, and Iyov work out well, as their years are indeed divisible by seven. In a previous edition this was explained (in two manners) to mean the last 350 years of his life. We might say that in 8:13 the verse says that it was "b'achas v'sheish mei'os shonoh." What point of reference is this? It is obviously the 601st year of Noach's life, yet the verse just leaves us with this ordinal number, but does not spell out that it was to Noach's life. The Chizkuni asks a simple question. From the beginning of the mabul until the earth was dry lasted for a year and after Noach left the ark he lived another 350 years, so how can the Torah say that he lived only a total of 950 years (9:29)? He answers that the year in the ark does not count, as the celestial bodies did not function, i.e. in a certain sense time stood still. This is corroborated by the creatures that have no bones surviving a full year plus, contrary to the norm, as explained in the gemara Chulin. We can possibly explain the omission of the mention that the reference point of the 601st year being that of Noach's life because we only calculate his years sans the year of the mabul. Factually though, he did live for 951 years. Rashi on 8:14 calculates that the flood from its beginning until the earth was dry lasted for 365 days, a "shonoh temimoh." In our calculations, governed by the moon we may rightly consider this a year plus 11 days. This additional time is also added to Noach's life, so he lived 951 years plus an additional 11 days. "Yom b'shonoh nech'shov shonoh" (gemara R.H. 2b), a fraction of a year can be calculated as a complete year, so we have Noach living for 952 years, divisible by seven. (n.l.)
Ch. 6, v. 21: "V'atoh kach l'cho mikol maachol asher yei'o'cheil v'osafto ei'lecho" - And you take for yourself of every food that is eaten and collect it to yourself - The Torah teaches us with these words the proper manner of eating. Ravenous people lean over their food, bringing themselves directly over it before pitching in and devouring the food. The proper way is to bring the food towards oneself while sitting upright. This is taught by the words of our verse "v'osafto ei'lecho." (Rabbi Yechiel Mechel of Zlotchov)
Ch. 10, v. 2: "V'Siros" - And Tiros - Rashi cites a M.R. that this is Poras, Persia. Shaa'rei Aharon cites a source that says that Tiros settled into an area that was partially present day Turkey and Persia, and the name Tiros contains the first two letters of Turkey and overlaps with the last two letters of Poras.
Ch. 11, v. 4: "Nivneh lonu ir umigdol v'rosho vashomayim" - Let us build a city and a tower whose top is in the heavens - The medrash says that there were three groups who undertook this venture. One said to build the tower to allow them to go into the heavens and wage war against Hashem. Another group said to build the tower to bolster the heavens so that there be no future flood. The third group said to build the tower so that they may ascend into the heavens and leave the materialism of this world.
The Holy Admor of Satmar was asked why he didn't join forces with the religious Zionists, albeit there were numerous secular and also anti-Torah groups that were also pro establishing a state. He answered that we see these three groups, and the last group's intentions were spiritual and commendable. Nevertheless, Hashem punished them too, having them far-flung and also speaking a new language. Why? This is because they joined the others. Even if there is a group that has proper aims but it joins forces with others who don't, one should keep away.
We might well say that this is a source for the mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos 1:7, "V'al tis'chabeir lorosho." Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenura explains with the words of the Yalkut Shimoni on Mishlei remez #950: Whoever clings to the evil people even if he doesn't emulate their behaviour, will receive the same retribution as they receive. This is akin to one who enters a tannery. Even if he purchases no hides, just by entering he absorbs the malodourous atmosphere and takes it with him when he leaves.
Ovos d'Rebbi Noson chapter 30 explains that by joining an evil person one gives him the encouragement to continue in his improper ways. The wrongdoer will think that he is behaving in an acceptable manner as even the righteous not only don't shun him, but even befriend him. In 9:14 it says that this applies even if one's intention is to bring him closer to observing the Torah and its mitzvos.
Although we find many worthy people who involve themselves in "keiruv" activities, we must differentiate between teaching them and being "mis'chabeir" ourselves to them.
Ch. 11, v. 12: "VaArpach'shad chai cho'meish ushloshim shonoh" - And Arpach'shad was alive for thirty-five years - At age thirty-five he had a son, Shelach. In the next verse we find that he lived an additional 403 years, giving us a total of 438 years. If we were to apply a ratio of the years of his lifespan to a person who lives 70-80 years, it is about 6 times as long. If we apply this same ratio to when a 70-80 year old person becomes a father, let us say at 20, a quarter of his total years, then Arpach'shad's having a child at the age of 35, less than a twelfth of his life, is an equivalent of 6 years old. This disparity bothered me a bit year after year, but I eventually put it into the back of my mind, as nevertheless, 35 years old is an adult. I have come across the comment of the Mahar"i Chalavoh who asks this and offers no answer.
Ch. 11, v. 30: "Vat'hi Sorai akoroh" - And Sorai was barren - The Mahara"l of Prague explains that Avrohom was not able to reproduce until after Hashem's giving him a blessing that he would reproduce. This was necessary to create a sort of clean-cut division between Avrohom and his father Terach. Avrohom the son of Terach could not reproduce. The new post-blessing Avrohom, a sort of new being, would now in an untainted manner father his progeny, the bnei Yisroel. Our verse seems to be a total non sequitur, stating that Sorai was barren. It would seem to be more in place in 17:16 or 17:17. Perhaps it is placed here to likewise cut her off from her father Horon and her grandfather Terach, as she was barren, and as such this was an end of descendants of Terach through her. Our verse therefore does not want to call her the grandchild of Terach as it does Lote. Avrohom's inability to reproduce is not spelled out, so his disconnecting from his father is not indicated here. (n.l.)
Ch. 11, v. 31: "V'eis Sorai kaloso eishes Avrom" - And Sorai his daughter-in-law the wife of Avrom - Since Sorai was his son Horon's daughter, why doesn't the verse express her relationship to Terach as his son's daughter just as it explains Lote's relationship as his son's son? Some say that Horon of verse 29 is not the same Horon of verses 26,27,28, and our verse.
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