Parshat No’ach 5777: No’ach, the Avos and Analogy with Shabbos and the Yomim Tovim

Shalom Friends;

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Moshe Burt
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Parshat No’ach 5777: No’ach, the Avos and Analogy with Shabbos and the Yomim Tovim

by Moshe Burt

Shem Mishmuel (Sefer Shem Mishmuel, Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, translated to English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski, pages 15-18) makes a fascinating analogy equating No’ach with Shabbos, while the Avos are equated with the Yomim Tovim Festivals (Pesach, Shavu’ot and Succot). Shem Mishmuel cites the opening posuk of our Parsha rendering it:

“No’ach was a perfect tzaddik in his generation” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 6, posuk 9)

It seems that the most common rendering of “Eileh Toldot” is that as rendered in the Artscroll Stone Chumash (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 6, posuk 9, page 31):

“These are the offspring of Noach. No’ach was a righteous man, perfect in his generations…”

But R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z”l, in the New Hirsch Chumash provides a fuller and slightly different rendering of the posuk (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 6, posuk 9) and comments (page 174):

“These are the products of No’ach. No’ach, a righteous man, was morally pure in his times: No’ach walked with G’d.”

“Eileh Toldot” is not immediately followed by enumeration of No’ach’s children… Our Sages (Breish’t Rabbah 30.6) infer from this that the primary “product” of a person, the first yield of his labors, is his own character. This inference applies especially to No’ach…; for in his generation, supreme courage was required to save oneself from the general degeneracy and to preserve the purity of one’s heart. In such a generation, surely “the first and foremost products if the righteous are their good deeds.”

“…A righteous man, morally pure…” These are the character traits… of… No’ach, and which Hashem chose as the basis for a new mankind.

Shem Mishmuel comments on the above citing of our Parsha’s opening posuk:

…No’ach is referred to as “perfect”, whereas Avraham was not… The word “perfect” really refers to milah (circumcision).

After milah, one achieves a certain physical perfection that was not present before. No’ach was born circumcised.

So No’ach was simply more perfect than Avraham in one limited sense. But perhaps there is a much deeper way of explaining… which will enable us to understand this particular difference.

Shem Mishmuel then cites an “enigmatic” [as stated in the sefer] statement from the Zohar HaKadosh and comments:

No’ach is Shabbos. (Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 21.54b) (Note: The name of No’ach means “resting”… an important Shabbos concept.)

Tradition tells us that the Shalosh Regalim (Pesach, Shavuot, Succot] corresponds to the three Avos (citing Orach Chaim 417) and that Rosh Chodesh corresponds to Dovid HaMelech (citing Rosh Hashana 25a).

It is well-known from Chassidic literature that Shabbos is the primary, driving force behind all of these festive occasions and that they receive their Kedusha from that of Shabbos.

The distinguishing feature of Shabbos is that it is permanent and unchangeable (citing gemora Chullin 101b). It falls out every seventh day and has done so since creation, without any human intervention. Yom Tov, however, is quite different. In the ideal Jewish society, the Beit Din must proclaim the advent of the new moon. Only then can we know when Rosh Chodesh falls and hence when Yom Tov will be. This lends a quite different character to Yom Tov, one in which the hand of man is… evident…

In the same vein, we can understand the difference between No’ach and the Avos. No’ach was holy from his earliest life….

He was born circumcised, implying a high level of intrinsic spirituality. However, that is where his spirituality rested — within
himself. He spent his life guarding himself from the evil influences of his surroundings and preserving his own surroundings and preserving his own kedusha.

This author thus views the similarity between No’ach and Shabbos as based in No’ach’s milah at birth, an Act of Hashem and, thus not dependent upon human intervention, just as Shabbos was an act of Hashem from Creation. Conversely, the milah of the Avos was dependent upon the human performance of the act of milah, just as Rosh Chodesh, and thus the Yomim Tovim — the Shalosh Regalim were dependent upon the human act of observation of the moon and, accordingly, the Beit Din’s ruling.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos and Chodesh Tov!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

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