CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS NOACH 5771 - BS"D
1) Ch. 6, v. 11: "Vatimo'leimore ho'oretz chomos" - And the earth was filled with robbery - Our Rabbis say that Noach should have chastised the wrongdoers, but didn't. This took place before the giving of the Torah, before there was a command of "Hochei'ach tochiach es ami'secho." Once this mitzvoh was given is a ben Yisroel responsible to chastise a non-ben Yisroel for transgressing any of his seven mitzvos?
2) 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 he 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"?
3) Ch. 6, v. 17: "Hin'ni meivi es hamabul ma'yim al ho'oretz l'shacheis kol bossor" - Behold I am bringing a flood of water to destroy all flesh - Why was the great deluge the appropriate form of destroying almost all the world?
4) 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?
5) Ch. 8, v. 11: "A'lei za'yis" - A leaf of an olive tree - Since plant life was also destroyed, why was it that an olive tree survived?
The Sefer Chasidim #1,124 writes that if a ben Yisroel sees a non-Jew transgress one of his commandments he should chastise him if practical. This is because when Hashem is angered by wrong-doing there is no "time of appeasement" for Him. He cites Hashem's command to Yonoh to tell the people of Ninveh to stop their bad actions and to repent. The intention of "Hashem is angered by wrong-doing and there is no "time of appeasement" for Him," is explained by commentators to mean that the even the wrongdoing of non-Jews affects bnei Yisroel negatively because it creates an "idan ris'cha," a time of anger (gemara M'nochos 41), and then we are punished even for not fulfilling positive commands.
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, "Bankruptcy, recovery of debts, a 'forced loan,' etc." This is surely a case of not keeping one's word. (P'ninim Y'korim)
The gemara Sanhedrin says that one manner of theft was that when a person piled up many bricks to build an edifice, people would come by and each would take a single brick, claiming that just one brick was not a significant loss for the owner and that its value was negligible. Eventually this left the owner with not a single brick. Hashem responded in kind with a flood, since each raindrop on its own is not damaging. (n.l.)
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)
The generation of the great deluge sinned by crossbreeding species. This included grafting different tree species as well. The gemara Yerushalmi Kila'yim 1:7 says that an olive tree does not accept grafting from another species, so they were free of this wrongdoing, and in turn survived. (Pardes Yoseif)
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