Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parshas Noach


Ki Mola'ah Ha'Aretz Chomos Mifneihem "For the land was filled of robbery from before them." Rashi comments that although the Generation of the Flood were guilty of many serious sins, it was the sin of robbery that ultimately sealed their fate - as this verse indicates. Although some of their sins were far more serious than robbery, such as idolatry, murder, and adultery, it was robbery that actually sealed their fate.

What is so unique about robbery?

When Hashem punishes a person who deserves death, in His abundant mercy, He does not kill the person right away. Instead, Hashem will usually strike at the person's possessions, hoping that the person will repent.

However, this approach could not be used with the Generation of the Flood because their possessions were not rightfully theirs! Their sins could not be expiated with others' property. Thus, had they not been guilty of robbery, they could have escaped destruction.

(Melo Ho'Omer - Ma'ayana Shel Torah)


U'Min HaBeheimah Asher Ainenah Tahorah "And from the animal that is not pure." The Talmud notes that the Torah uses a wordy expression, "the animal that is not pure" rather than a more concise term, "the impure animal." The Talmud explains that the Torah did so in order to demonstrate the importance of being careful with our language. However, we find the Torah constantly referring to forbidden animals as "impure" when discussing the dietary laws. What happened to the ideal of delicate speech?

This can be explained with the following parable. A stranger once walked into the rabbi's home and asked for directions to Yankel's house. The rabbi's steward replied "You mean Yankel the Crook? He lives half a mile down the road." The rabbi rebuked his steward for unnecessarily denigrating Yankel. Some time later, a matchmaker visited the Rabbi's home and proposed Yankel’s daughter as a match for the rabbi's son. The rabbi shouted "What! Yankel the Crook's daughter? For my son? Never!" After the matchmaker left, the surprised steward asked the rabbi "Didn't you once tell me that I shouldn't refer to Yankel as Yankel the Crook? Why did you use the same name for him yourself just now? The rabbi replied "I told you not to use that title unnecessarily It is forbidden belittle someone needlessly. However, when the matchmaker approached me, I had to state my position unequivocally. I therefore spared no details to clarify exactly why I could not allow such a match to occur. The rabbi's conduct is analogous to the Torah's choice of terminology. In the story of Noach (Noah), the Torah was merely stating how many animals were to be brought into the Ark. There was no reason to make mention of any impurity. Rather, the status of the animals was only used as a point of reference. However when the animals were discussed in regard to their non-kosher status, the Torah did not hesitate to label them as they are, IMPURE.

This term is used to emphasize that they are absolutely forbidden for us to eat. (Dubner Magid)

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