Our Parshat HaShevua, No’ach is sponsored by Jack and Chana Kaminker and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh who dedicate this vort Lilui Nishmas Jack’s Father Aryeh Shlomo Leib ben Elyakim. To the Kaminker family, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.
You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.
Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.
As this author sits in solitude in his apartment, in bidud (quarantine), although healthy Baruch Hashem (from the second day of Rosh Hashana), Torah’s first references to No’ach, for whom our Parshat is named, are toward the end of Parshat Breish’t. The Sapirstein Edition, The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary renders to English the posuk below and Rashi’s commentary:
“Lemach lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and he begot a son. And he named him No’ach, saying, ‘This one will bring us ease from our work and from the toil of our hands, from the ground which Hashem had cursed.'” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 5, posuk 29)
Rashi comments on the posuk: Until No’ach appeared, they did not have implements for plowing and he devised such implements for them. And the earth would produce thorns and thistles (i.e artichokes and cardoons), when they would sow wheat as a result of the curse of Adam, and in the days of No’ach it rested from producing the undesired crop. (ibid, page 56)
In the final posukim of Parshat Breish’t, Torah states:
“Hashem saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and that every product of the thoughts of his heart was… evil always. And Hashem reconsidered having put man on earth, and He was pained in His heart. And Hashem said, ‘I will dissolve man who I created, from upon the face of the earth — from man to animal, to creeping things, and to the birds of the sky; for I have reconsidered having made them.’ But Hashem found grace in No’ach.” (ibid, Sefer Breish’t, Perek 6, posukim 5-8)
Rashi comments on “dissolve” in Sefer Breish’t, Perek 6, posuk 7:
And Hashem said; “I will dissolve man.” “He is soil and I will bring upon him water and dissolve him.” (ibid, page 62)
The Chabad.org website provides an article by Yehuda Altein outlining the background of the evolution of man leading to No’ach’s construction of the Teiva:
The world preceding the Flood was marked by abundance, health, and prosperity. The average human lifespan lasted many hundreds of years, and the climate across the globe was temperate and pleasant.
Unfortunately, mankind took advantage of this blissful lifestyle, and corruption became rampant. With the exception of a few select individuals, society indulged in theft, idolatry, and incest. This all came to a head in the year 1536 of Creation (2225 BCE), when G-d first foretold the events that would come to pass.
Scripture tells us that Noah, a ninth-generation descendant of Adam and Eve, was a righteous and upright man. G-d informed Noah of his plans to eradicate mankind due to their evil ways, and instructed him to build an ark, in which he and his family were to take refuge. Joining them in the ark would be a select few creatures of every species (other than fish, that survived the Flood unscathed): two from every non-kosher animal, and seven (or fourteen4) of every kosher animal.
G-d gave exact instructions how the ark was to be built. It was to be crafted of gopher wood5 and sealed from both within and without with pitch. It was to comprise three stories: the top for Noah and his family; the middle for the animals; and the bottom for refuse. It was to measure 300 cubits in length, 50 cubits in width, and 30 in height. The ark was illuminated by a tzohar, which was either a window through which light shone from the outside, or a radiant precious stone.
The ark took Noah no less than 120 years to build, allowing plenty of time for onlookers to query his actions, be told of the impending calamity, and change their ways. Unfortunately, such repentance never came to pass.
Finally, in the year 1656 (2105 BCE), the day arrived when everything would change.
In another Chabad.org post: The Ark, Tzvi Freeman writes:
There is a raging storm at sea. There are hellish waves crashing and pounding upon the shore, carrying all away, leaving desolation behind.
The sea is this world into which you were thrown. The waves are the stress and anxiety of indecision, not knowing which way to turn, on what to rely. Up and down, hot and cold—constantly churning back and forth.
Do as Noah did and build an ark. Ark in Hebrew is teivah—which means also “a word.” Your ark shall be the words of contemplation and of prayer.
Enter into your ark, and rather than drown you with everything else, let the waters carry you upward.
In a footnote on his post, Freeman adds:
(2704-1754 BCE) ; [As a] tenth generation descendant of Adam, he [No’ach] and his immediate family were the only ones to remain righteous when all of humankind descended into a state of anarchy and lawlessness. He and his family survived the Flood that wiped out the rest of the human race by taking shelter in the Ark he constructed. According to the Midrash, he invented the plow.
Freeman eloquently writes:
Enter into a serene ark of contemplation and prayer and let the floods of life lift you high.
HaRav Avishai David, Shlit”a, our new Rav at Beit Tefillah Yona Avraham in Ramat Beit Shemesh spoke in his Pre-Rosh Hashana Drasha touching on No’ach and equating he [No’ach] and his family entering the Teiva (Ark) before the mabul (flood) with our current situation under what could be called the Chinese corona virus pandemic derech hateva (acts of nature) of lockdowns, quarantines, masks and social distancing.
We ask, what is Hashem’s message to us in the way of the corona virus has been inflicted upon the entire world and which seems apparently to have hit us soo heavily in positive tests, sickness and death here in Israel? What is the Divine message of the Shuls here being forcibly closed by governmental decree? The heavenly message in what derech hateva we see as a Communist Chinese plot designed in a lab to inflict on the world in attempt to gain supremacy? And what of the earthly thinking that the origins of the corona virus must be fully and completely investigated, lest such Chinese “plots” be repeated? Is the corona virus another of the hurricane, tornado, tidal wave or pollution catastrophes that socialists want to rack-up as “climate change”, as if planet earth has a mind of its own, in total disregard of Our Creator, while claiming that we have maybe ten to twelve years before earth becomes uninhabitable?
It seems that Hashem wanted us, including we elderly to recite our Yom Kippur Ashamnus, Al Cheits, Yiskors and more in solitary Yechidut at home, or outside, while donning masks and keeping socially-distanced, amidst the blazing high 90s heat, for what appears to be an indeterminable time, just as No’ach and his family remained in the Teiva for the duration of the mabul until the flood had totally receded. Is Hashem warning us, as He did via No’ach building the Teiva and warning the people of the era of the mabul?
May we daven, with unsurpassed intensity and unity, for an end to this pandemic and that Hashem, our Creator see that we merit
that no further pandemics afflict us!
May all who subscribe to these Parshat vorts live in happiness and good health to at least a full 120 years.
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 and that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free, as Naama Issachar is now free and home — which can only occur when Jonathan is home in Israel and carrying for his ill wife Esther Yocheved bat Rayzl Bracha, and that the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of five and a half 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 prevent Chas V’Challila 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’nei 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!!!
Chodesh Tov and Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt is an Oleh, writer and commentator on news and events in Eretz Yisrael. He is the founder and director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.