Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 6, v. 9: "B'dorosov" - Rashi says that some of our TEACHERS interpret this positively and others interpret this negatively. A) Why does Rashi skip the word TEACHERS when he says that some interpret our verse negatively? B) Why indeed does Rashi mention the negative interpretation at all?

2) Ch. 6, v. 16: "Tzohar" - Rashi offers two explanations, either a window or a stone which illuminated. Rashi earlier on "b'dorosov" (6:9) also offered two explanations. In both places they are the differing opinions of Rabbi Yochonon and Reish Lokish. Rabbi Yochanan interpreted "b'dorosov" in a negative manner and also says that "tzohar" is an illuminating stone. Reish Lakish interpreted "b'dorosov" in a positive manner and also says that "tzohar" is a window. How can we run their opinions in tandem?

3) Ch. 6, v. 18: "Kol asher bo'oretz yigvo" - We know that this does not include fish. From where is this derived?

4) Ch. 7, v. 2: "Shivoh shivoh" - 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. What other reason is there for this?

5) Ch. 9, v. 12,13: "Zose ose habris asher Ani NOSEIN, Es kashti NOSATI" - Why the difference in tense?



A) Rashi is telling us to always attempt to look at things positively. Those who do so are the people we should consider our teachers. Don't become a disciple of one who interprets things negatively.

B) The Shpoler Zeida in Tiferes Mahara"l answers that a great service has been done by mentioning that there are those who look upon the Tzadik negatively. This teaches us that in future generations one can be a true Tzadik just as the Torah testifies regarding Noach, even though he is criticized by some. This in no way diminishes the fact that he is a true tzadik.


The Eidus B'Yoseif explains that these two explanations of Rashi correspond to the two explanations of "b'dorosov" in 6:9. Rabbi Yochanan interpreted "b'dorosov" in a negative manner and also says that "tzohar" is an illuminating stone. Reish Lakish interpreted "b'dorosov" in a positive manner and also says that "tzohar" is a window. Rashi in parshas Vayeira 19:17 on the words, "Al tabit achar'echo," writes that he who does not have sufficient merit to be saved may not look upon the downfall of others who are being destroyed. It now follows that Rabbi Yochanan, who interpreted the righteousness of Noach as being limited, follows through that "tzohar" is an illuminating stone, as Noach should not see the destruction of his fellow men. However, Reish Lokish, who extols Noach's righteousness, can interpret "tzohar" as a window.

If you are bothered with the explanation of an illuminating stone because of 8:6, where it says openly that Noach opened the WINDOW of the ark, see the Sifsei Chachomim 6:16, #90.


The Rada"k derives from the word "bo'oretz" that only land bound creatures died in the Mabul, but not the fish. The gemara Z'vochim 113b derives this from 7:23, "Kol asher beCHOROVOH meisu." The P'sikta Zut'r'sa says that the fish merited to be saved because they did not have relations with other species. The medrash says that in this merit fish also merit to be eaten at every Shabbos meal.

Although fish seem to be very virtuous in regard to the incident of the Mabul, at the same time another medrash says that the ministering angel for fish came to Hashem and complained that fish are so easily captured in such large numbers. Hashem responded that this is in response to their not praying for the welfare of other creatures at the time of the Mabul.


The 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 is a majority of non-kosher animals in the world. This seems to contradict the Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer and agree with Rashi's reasoning. Possibly this can be answered by saying that there are a larger number of kosher animals, but the gemara might mean that there is a larger number of species of non-kosher animals.


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 was existent 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 CIRCLE as viewed from above. I believe that the medrash on Shmuel says this. It says that "l'osid lovo" the rainbow will be a circle. "L'osid lovo" can readily mean "in the future time" when translated literally. In the future when we will travel by airplane we will view the rainbow as a rain-circle.



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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