For the week ending 16 October 2004 / 1 Heshvan 5765

Parshat Noach

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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It is ten generations since the creation of the first human. Adams descendants have corrupted the world with immorality, idolatry and robbery, and G-d resolves to bring a flood which will destroy all the earths inhabitants except for the righteous Noach, his family and sufficient animals to repopulate the earth. G-d instructs Noach to build an ark. After forty days and nights, the flood covers even the tops of the highest mountains. After 150 days the water starts to recede. On the 17th day of the 7th month, the ark comes to rest on Mount Ararat. Noach sends out a raven and then a dove to ascertain if the waters have abated. The dove returns. A week later Noach again sends the dove, which returns the same evening with an olive leaf in its beak. After another seven days Noach sends the dove once more; the dove does not return. G-d tells Noach and his family to leave the ark. Noach brings offerings to G-d from the animals which were carried in the ark for this purpose. G-d vows never again to flood the entire world and designates the rainbow as a sign of this covenant. Noach and his descendants are now permitted to slaughter and eat meat, unlike Adam. G-d commands the Seven Universal Laws: The prohibitions against idolatry, adultery, theft, blasphemy, murder, eating meat torn from a live animal, and the obligation to set up a legal system. The worlds climate is established as we know it today. Noach plants a vineyard and becomes intoxicated from its produce. Ham, one of Noachs sons, delights in seeing his father drunk and uncovered. Shem and Yafet, however, manage to cover their father without looking at his nakedness, by walking backwards. For this incident, Canaan is cursed to be a slave. The Torah lists the offspring of Noachs three sons from whom the seventy nations of the world are descended. The Torah records the incident of the Tower of Bavel, which results in G-d fragmenting communication into many languages and the dispersal of the nations throughout the world. The Parsha concludes with the genealogy of Noach to Avram.


Whats In A Name?

And Kush begot NimrodHe was a mighty hunter before G-d (10:8,9)

One of the major changes that took place after the Flood was that G-d permitted man to eat meat. Previously, all mankind was vegetarian. The first person to make use of this permission was Nimrod. Nimrod became a great hunter. The fame of his prowess spread far and wide. It was said that he never missed his target. The true key to his success, however, had nothing to do with a sharp eye or a steady hand. Nimrod possessed a secret that made his success unassailable.

When Noach left the Ark, one of the heirlooms he brought out with him were the garments that G-d made for Adam. Cham, the second of Noachs three sons, stole those garments. Cham bequeathed them in secrecy to his son Kush. Kush, in turn, passed them on to his favorite son, Nimrod. It was these garments that gave Nimrod the power to slay any animal of his choosing. Whenever Nimrod wore the Adams garments, Nimrods targeted prey would fall to the ground when he merely drew his bow back.

What is the connection between Adams clothes and the ability to subdue animals?

When G-d created the animals, He brought them before Adam and asked him to give each one of them a name. Adam was able to look into the essence of each animal and give it a name. In the Holy Language of Hebrew, the name defines the essence. A name is not conventional, it is essential. The name is the clothing of the essence. The name is the connection to the spiritual root in the upper worlds.

When Nimrod wore the garments of Adam, he was able to subdue the animals because he had access to the garments of their essence, to their names.

  • Source: Based on the Midrash, Bereishet Rabba 37:3

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