4 Marcheshvan 5776
October 16-17, 2015
Annual: Genesis 6:9-11:32
Triennial: Genesis 11:1-32
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-55:5
The Choreography of Chaos and Control – Parashat Noah
In Parshat Noah we will witness the fragility of those primal partitions. When appalled by creation, God causes the divisions to blur; chaotic liquid pours down from the heavens above and bubbles up from the waters beneath, threatening to return the earth to its original state of entropy.
יא … בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה, נִבְקְעוּ כָּל-מַעְיְנֹת תְּהוֹם רַבָּה, וַאֲרֻבֹּת הַשָּׁמַיִם, נִפְתָּחוּ.
11 …on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
A Vort for Parashat Noah
Verse 7:7 says that Noah and his family “went into the Ark because of the waters of the flood.” Rashi says this showed Noah’s lack of faith – despite God’s word, he waited until the rains actually started. R’ Yitzhak Isaac of Zidichov, a noted 19th century Hasidic rabbi, explained just the opposite, that Noah had such great faith in God’s mercy for all His creatures, even the evil ones, that he was sure that God would not bring the flood to destroy them. And, the Hasidim tell, when R’ Yitzhak Isaac died and went to Heaven, Rashi came out to greet him to show appreciation for the his explanation of the verse.
by Vered Hollander-Goldfarb, CY Faculty
In the 10 generations since Adam, humanity has managed to create a society that is so corrupt that it cannot continue. Here are a few questions to start some discussions:
1) The Torah tells us that Noah was ‘a righteous man in his generation’ (6:9). Was he righteous in his own right or did he only seem rightous in comparison to the people of his time? What difficulties do you think that Noah faced because of his behavior? Why? (This question is partially based on a discussion found in Rashi’s commentary on 6:9.)
2) God told Noah to build an ark. Who would be saved in the ark (6:17-7:3)? What might be the logic behind this?
3) Why do you think that God had Noah work hard and build the ark rather than create it miraculously for him?
4) Following the flood, God makes a covenant with the living things on Earth (9:8-17). What is the covenant and what is its symbol? Why do you think that this was chosen as a symbol for this covenant?
*Try to think of at least one other covenant in Torah that speaks of a brit (a covenant) and an ot (sign). What is the covenant and what is the symbol there? Why do you think that symbol was chosen?
5) When Noah finally emerges from the ark he plants a vineyard. Why do you think that he did so? (Did it have a connection to his experience in the ark? To his life before the flood? To what had happened to the Earth – both plants and living creatures? What might wine symbolize?)