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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS NOACH 5775 BS"D

Ch. 6, v. 9: "B'dorosov" - In his generations - Rashi cites two opinions, one that he was exceedingly righteous, and one that he was only righteous in relation to his generation. Why is it necessary to infer that he was not that righteous when we can say that he was totally righteous? By saying that he was not totally righteous we conclude that Hashem saved him in spite of some shortcomings so that the world would continue to exist. Noach was chosen as he was the best of the lot. Similarly, we may derive that near the end of time on our world, even if the bnei Yisroel are not righteous, but are the "best of the lot" in comparison to the nations of the world, Hashem will likewise save them. (Mahar"i Mintz)

Ch. 6, v. 10: "Es Shem es Chom v'esYoffes" - Shem Chom and Yeffes - Noach's three sons correspond to Odom's three sons Kayin, Hevel and Sheis. Just as Odom's son Sheis was the his primary son, so too, Noach's son Shem was Noach's primary son, and it is only from his descendants who will be resurrected at the time of the revival of the dead. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 6, v. 12: "Ki hish'chis kol bossor es darko al ho'oretz" - Because all flesh has destroyed its path on the earth - "Al" can be translated "as a result of." Because the land was so agriculturally productive and people had all the physical good they wanted, this brought them to become demoralized. (Haksav V'hakaboloh)

Ch. 6, v. 20: "L'mi'neihu l'minoh" - To its species to its species - Noach did not bring every variation of every species into the ark. Rather, he only brought in a pair of the head of a species. After their exit from the ark they proliferated into the sub-species. (N'tzi"v)

Ch. 6, v. 21: V'hoyoh l'cho v'lo'hem l'ochloh" - Why is Noach's eating mentioned before that of the animals according to the law which we derive from Dvorim 11:15 (parshas "V'hoyoh im shomo'ah") that feeding animals comes before feeding one's self? A possible answer might be that the Kabbalists explain that the reason behind the animals eating first is that we want to have an orderly elevation of the different types of creation. The earth, the inanimate, gives minerals to sustain plant life. Plant life is the sustenance of animals. Then the animals are consumed by humans, sustaining them. Before the exodus from the ark, man was not permitted to slaughter animals for consumption. We see that up to that time the order of elevating inanimate to vegetation to animal to human was not yet in effect. Hence it was not necessary to feed the animals first. Another answer might be akin to something we have all experienced before an airplane takes off. Among the announcements made is one that if the air supply is lacking oxygen masks will drop from above and should be placed over the nose and mouth. Adults should place theirs' before placing children's. the adult has to be able to breathe to be able to attend to a child. Similarly here, Noach had to eat first to have the stamina to feed the animals. (n.l.)

Why, indeed, did the permission to slaughter and eat animals come into affect only after the Mabul? I heard or read that until the Mabul there was no moral right for a person to take the life of an animal for consumption, as it is Hashem's creation. However, since Noach saved all animals and sustained them for a year in the ark he now had a rightful claim to being actively involved in their existence, and now had the right to slaughter and consume animals.

Ch. 7, v. 2: "Shevah shevah" - Seven seven - Why seven of the kosher species and only two of the non-kosher? Rashi answers that Hashem was indicating to Noach that he should use some of the kosher animals as a thanksgiving sacrifice upon exiting the ark safely. Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 23 gives another reason. It says that before the Mabul there was a great majority of non-kosher animals. Hashem wanted to have a majority of kosher ones and therefore required a much larger number of them to be brought into the ark. The gemara Chullin 63a says that it is well known that there are a majority of non-kosher animals in the world. This seems to contradict the Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer and agree with Rashi's reasoning, although we can say that the gemara refers to species and Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer to number.

Ch. 7, v. 4: "Arbo'im yom v'arbo'im lailoh" - Forty days and forty nights - Hashem told Noach how long it would rain so that he would not fear that it would rain forever. (Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor)

Rashi explains that forty days correspond to the forty days from conception until the forming of the embryo's gender is definitive.

Forty days correspond to the forty "so'oh" of water that form a minimal sized mikvoh. This was a purification exercise.

Just as the Torah says that a rosho should receive forty lashes, so to the world was lashed with forty days and nights of the great deluge. (Holy Zohar)

Ch. 7, v. 9: "Shnayim shnayim bo'u kaasher tzivoh Elokim" - Pairs came as G-d commanded - Upon Noach's entry the verse says, "Va'yisgor Hashem baado," Hashem sealed the ark for him, the Holy Name of mercy. For the creatures our verse expresses Elokim, the Holy Name of strict judgment. The creatures that enter were those who were not deviant in their sexual behavior, so even the level of strict judgment allows for them to be saved. When it came to saving the humans only through the characteristic of mercy could they be saves. (Holy Alshich)

9, v. 12-13: "Zose ose habris asher Ani NOSEIN - Es kashti NOSATI" - The Ramban says that verse 13 seems to contradict Pirkei Ovos 5:8 which lists the rainbow as one of the ten creations made during twilight of the entry into Shabbos Kodesh. He answers that the rainbow existed since the time of creation, as it says "NOSATI," I have ALREADY given. The new occurrence was that it would be a sign from now on, as it says "asher Ani NOSEIN," that I NOW give. He also explains how symbolically the rainbow is a sign of no further world-wide flood devastation. 1) The direction of the curve of the bow is heavenwards, indicating that there will be no arrows (Mabul) shot down to Earth. 2) The rainbow has no cross-string to propel an arrow, again indicating that no Mabul will be shot down to Earth.

The Kli Yokor answers the Ramban's first question as follows. The creation of the rainbow was as stated in Pirkei Ovos. However, the appearance can only take place when there is a great amount of moisture in the air to refract the light rays that stream through the air (as explained in the above Ramban in the name of the wise men of Greece). Before the Mabul, the air was much drier, so the rainbow never appeared. After the Mabul there was much more moisture in the air, allowing it to appear.

If you are in an airplane above a rainbow, you will note a very interesting phenomenon; that a rainbow is actually a rain CIRCLE as viewed from above.

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


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