For the week ending 24 October 2009 / 5 Heshvan 5770

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. Cham, 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.


A Window on the World

“A window you shall make for the Ark...” (6:16)

The three fundamentals of real estate are, as any real estate agent will tell you, Location. Location. And location.

One of the things you can’t change about a property is the view. A room with a view is a precious jewel.

When G-d instructed Noach to build the Ark, He included specific instructions to include a tzohar. Tzohar has two possible meanings. It can mean either a precious stone or it can mean a window. A precious stone might fill the Ark with a beautiful light as the sun’s rays were refracted, bathing the inside of the Ark with a multicolored glow. A precious stone is to let the light in. A window is to look out. But what were they supposed to look out at? An empty waterscape of gray in every direction?

G-d wanted Noach to have a window on the world to see the world’s destruction and have a feeling of pity.

In life, it’s easy to think if I’m okay then the world’s okay. Life’s biggest jewel is to look out of our own arks and take up the yoke and the heartaches of others.

  • Sources: Rashi, Rabbi Rafael Stephansky

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