14. Father of the Noahide's

Gen. 6:5 And G-D saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.

6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 9 These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just [tzaddik] man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with G-d.

The word "just" is "tzaddik" which means "righteous". Noah is referred to three times as "righteous" in the Hebrew Bible. Twice in Gen 6:5 and in Gen. 7:1. and once in Ezekiel 14:14. "...then even if these three men would be in its midst - Noah, Daniel and Job* - they, by their righteousness, would save [only] their own souls - the word of the Lord HaShem/ELOHIM. The following verses reiterate that these three men would be unable to save their sons or daughters, that they alone would be saved.Commentary from Stone Edition TaNaCh 14:14.

These three men had survived in the face of general collapse: Noah of the whole world, Daniel of his country, and Job of his family (Arbanel). Ezekiel warns the nation not to rely on the merits of the few righteous people living in Jerusalem to save the populace at large. He is also called 'perfect' in his generations. Tamiym = Perfect, which means, whole, without blemish, truth. In a time when all the rest of the world had corrupted its way, only Noah was able to remain untainted by those around him.  10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem,Ham, and Japheth. 11 The earth also was corrupt before G-d, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And G-d looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And G-d said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.Of all the people on the earth the only person who was considered just and perfect in his generations was Noah, he is reported to have walked with G-d just as Enoch had done before him.

There had been ten generations from Adam to Noah and mankind had been on a downward spiral until G-d resolved to wipe out all the inhabitants of the earth, with the exception of Noah and his family, and enough animals to replenish the earth after the destruction. Noah thus became the father of mankind after the Flood. Ibn Ezra and B'chor Shor render (Toldot} as history, so that the primary subject of the chapter is not his family, but his life story as it relates to the flood and its aftermath. The Three sons of Noah are not named in the order of their birth.

Japheth was the eldest, but Shem is mentioned first because Scripture enumerates them according to wisdom, not age Sanhedrin 69b. The behaviour of people had deteriorated. At first they were called corrupt - being guilty of immorality and idolatry - and they sinned covertly, before G-d. Later, the earth had become filled with robbery - which was obvious to all. Then the entire earth was corrupted, because man is the essence of the world, and his corruption infects all of Creation Zohar. Such is the progression of sin. It begins in private, when people still have a sense of right and wrong. But once people develop the habit of sinning, they gradually lose their sense of shame, and immoral behaviour becomes the accepted and ultimately even the required norm. In Noah's time, the immoral sexual conduct of the people extended to the animal world also, until they too cohabited with other species. (See Parashas Noach - Stones Chumash.)  Here we see that principle of the prohibition against sexual immorality which is one of the Noachide laws.  This becomes obvious with pets, if the owner of a pet is aggressive very often the pet follows the lead of the owner and becomes agressive also. So we can affect our animals by our behaviour.  Gen. 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15 And this [is the fashion] which thou shalt make it [of]: The length of the ark [shall be] three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; [with] lower, second, and third [stories] shalt thou make it. 17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die.

According to the smallest estimate of 18 inches per cubit, the Ark's dimensions were 450 x 75 x 45 feet = 1,518,750 cubic feet. (300 x 50 x 30 cubits} The ark had three stories and each had 33,750 sq. feet of floor space for a total of 101,250 square feet.  The 'window' is said by some to have been a skylight, which Noah opened after the Flood (8:6) - and some say it was a precious stone [that refracted the outside light to illuminate the interior] (Chizkuni) (Rashi). The roof of the ark sloped upward to a cubit, so that the rain would run off.  18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every [sort] shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep [them] alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every [sort] shall come unto thee, to keep [them] alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather [it] to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that G-d commanded him, so did he. In verse 18 it refers to 'My Covenant' Rashi said that this was a promise that the year's supply of food in the Ark would not spoil; or it refers to the covenant after the Flood (9:8-17), in which G-d pledged not to destroy the world again through a flood (Sforno).

The animals were taken into the ark in pairs a male and female of each of the species, except for the clean animals which were to be offered in sacrifice and for meat. These animals were taken in seven pairs. The animals came to the ark of their own accord. Only those animals which had not been involved in sexual perversion were admitted into the ark. Noah also took seeds and other food into the ark for himself and his family as well as for the animals in the ark. It is interesting when we examine this that we see the principle of 'kindness' to animals which is one of the Noachide laws. 

The Flood came on the world in the six hundredth year of Noah's life - the year 1656 from Creation.  Gen 7:17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. 18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that [were] under the whole heaven, were covered. The waters of the flood uprooted trees and swept away buildings (Ramban).

Gen. 7:21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22 All in whose nostrils [was] the breath of life, of all that [was] in the dry [land], died. 23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained [alive], and they that [were] with him in the ark. 24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.Verse 21 mentions only land creatures, which implies that G-d spared the fish, because they did not participate in Man's sins. (Maharsha citing Zevachin 113b). 

Finally the rain stopped and G-d remembered Noah and the others in the ark, a spirit Ramban and others render wind. This spirit or wind caused the waters to stop their seething, boiling fury, and the sources of the water were sealed so that the Flood began to recede.  Gen 8:1 And G-d remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that [was] with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; 2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; 3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.It was not until the tenth month from the beginning of the rain that the mountaintops became visible again. Forty days after the Ark settled on the mountains of Ararat, Noah opened the skylight to see when it would be possible to leave the Ark and re-establish normal life on earth again. Gen. 8:7 tells us that first Noah sent out a raven to test whether it was still too wet. But the raven kept on going and returning with nothing in its mouth.  Ravens feed on carrion of man and beast, so clearly the waters had not receded far enough for it to find food. Seven days after sending out the raven Noah sent out a dove; if it found a resting place it would not return to him. (Rashi) As long as there were no trees the dove could not build a nest (Ramban), or because the land was still saturated from the long Flood (Sforno). Gen. 8:9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters [were] on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. Noah's compassion on the dove teaches us that we should treat an unsuccessful messenger as well as a successful one, if the failure was not his fault (Haamek Davar). We also learn from this example by Noah that we should show kindness to animals. Gen. 8:10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; 11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth [was] an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. 12 And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more. We see also the principle of the seven day week was known to Noah, implying that the dove returned to the Ark on the Sabbath day.

Thus while Noahides are not permitted to keep the Sabbath in the manner of the Jews, (the prohibition of doing work associated with the building of the Tabernacle) nevertheless we may rest and study Torah on that day.  Ex. 20:10 But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy G-d: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates:Success at last, the waters had finally abated sufficiently for trees to become apparent. G-d finally had mercy upon Noah and thus upon mankind.  Psalm 52:8 But I [am] like a green olive tree in the house of G-d: I trust in the mercy of G-d for ever and ever. In the Noahic tradition the olive and the dove have been venerated as symbols of friendship and peace.

It is interesting that it is the oil of the olive tree which was burned in the Temple Menorah. The Temple in Jerusalem is called a "House of prayer for all nations." Isaiah 6:7.  Exodus 27:20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. Noah's gratitude - an offering and a promise from HaShem that never again would He smite the earth with a flood to destroy it, the seasons would remain intact as long as the earth remains.  Gen. 8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the HaShem; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the HaShem smelled a sweet savour; and the HaShem said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. 22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.Psalm 128:1 A Song of degrees. Blessed [is] every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. 2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy [shalt] thou [be], and [it shall be] well with thee. 3 Thy wife [shall be] as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. 4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. 5 The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. 6 Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, [and] peace upon Israel. The Noachide Covenant! Genesis 9:8 And G-d spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, 9 And I, behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you; 10 And with every living creature that [is] with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.

The Sign of the Rainbow "In Parsha, [Noach] G-d destroyed His world because it had become perverted. The natural boundaries separating one species from the next had become obscured. Cross breeding was rampant, incest and adultery were accepted as alternative life choices, and personal properties and rights were  defenseless before a philosophical onslaught of "might makes right". Murder and thievery were commonplace and were the determining factor in the balance of personal wealth and power. In a world devoid of respect for individual differences and rights there can be no G-d. Just as belief in G-d demands that we study, accept, and respect G-d's established demarcations in order to understand His intended purposes, so too, the erasing of those differences denies G-d's place within the universe. Therefore, in the pre-Mabul (diluvian) era, idol worship was rampant as everyone and anyone claimed divine rights and prerogative.

A few years ago, my Father Shlit'a shared with me a beautiful insight into the story of Noach and the building of the Tayvah - Ark. In 6:16, G-d instructed Noach to put a "Tzoar" in the roof of the Tayvah. Rashi references the Medresh that translates Tzoar as either a window or a large precious gem. The construction of a window to provide air and light makes sense. The notion of framing a large gem in the roof of the Tayvah does not make much practical sense. For what possible reason would G-d have wanted a gem embedded in the roof of the Tayvah? I always thought that it was meant to function as a skylight to refract and magnify the light coming into the Tayvah; however, even that explanation lacks practical plausibility.  My Father Shlit'a suggested the following explanation. The Talmud is not suggesting that it was an either or situation, either a window or a gem. In truth, both opinions assume that there was a window. However, the source that translates Tzoar as a gem assumes that there was also a window. The question is, why did G-d insist on placing a gem in addition to a window?  My Father pointed out that a gem would act like a prism for whatever light passed through its crystals or facets. As such, the gem would break down the white light into the 7 colors of the prism casting a rainbow of colors into the Tayvah - Ark.

G-d's intention was for the survivors of the Mabul and the progenitors of the new world to have a constant reminder of the uniqueness and complexity of that which otherwise appears simple and commonplace. It was essential for Noach and his sons to recognize and respect the inherent differences, both subtle and obvious, that G-d had established in creation. The colors of the prism cast on the floor and walls of the Tayvah were a constant reminder that the obvious and the common often mask the unique and the individual. The downfall of pre-diluvian humanity was their disregard for differences and the obscuring of G-d's intent and purpose. The hope for future humanity was their recognition and acceptance of those divine demarcations and the revealing of G-d's intent.  It now makes sense why G-d chose the rainbow as His reminder to humanity of the Mabul - Great Flood.

In the aftermath of a rain, the colors of the rainbow stretched across the blue expanse of the sky reminds humanity that it is our obligation to seek out, cherish, and respect the differences inherent in nature. It reminds us that it is within those differences that G-d is to be found." Author Rabbi A. Tendler. Genesis 9:11 And I will establish My Covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. 12 And G-d said, This [is] the token of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that [is] with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15 And I will remember My Covenant, which [is] between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] upon the earth. 17 And G-d said unto Noah, This [is] the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that [is] upon the earth.Noah's character was such that he kept the Seven Laws which now bear his name, even though they were originally kept by Adam and by Enoch. These laws were originally given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

The question might well be asked if Noah was such a righteous man why did he get drunk? It would seem that even righteous men can and do have failings. The Scriptures give us a warts and all description of the faithful. But we can learn another lesson which is applicable to the Noachide Laws from that episode. When Noah's son Ham told his two brothers about Noah's naked condition, the other two brothers demonstrated that they honoured their father and they took a garment and covered his nakedness. According to the commentary in the Stones Chumash Ham enjoyed the sight of his father's dishevelment and drunkenness. Shem however took a garment and with Japheth covered their father's nakedness, thus bringing a blessing to themselves, while Ham and Canaan were cursed. According to this commentary because Shem covered his father's nakedness the Jews who are the descendants of Shem were rewarded with the mitzvah of fringed garments [tzitzits]; those of Japheth with burial in Eretz Yisrael [Ezekiel 39:11]; those of Ham were eventually led away by the king of Assyria....naked and barefoot [Isaiah 20:4] {Midrash; Rashi).

Shem and Japheth draped the garment over their shoulders and walked in backwards, averting their gaze; even when they had to turn around to cover Noah, they looked away (Rashi).  Noah foretold the destiny of his sons. Gen 9:25-27 R'Hirsch calls these verses the most far-reaching prophecy ever uttered, for in it Noah encapsulated the entire course of human history.  Noah was born in the year 1056 from Creation, the Flood occurred in 1656, and he died in 2006, ten years after the Dispersion (chapter 11). Abraham was born in 1948; thus he knew Noah and was 58 years old when Noah died. It is fascinating that from Adam to Abraham, there was a word of mouth tradition spanning only four people: Adam, Lemech, Noah and Abraham. (Stones Chumash) Similarly, Moses, through whom the Torah was given, saw Kehath who saw Jacob, who saw Abraham. Accordingly, there were not more than seven people who carried the tradition firsthand from Adam to the generation that received the Torah (Arbanel).  "History ~~ Mount of Olives - Historical and Spiritual"

The midrash teaches us that the branch carried back to Noah's Ark after the flood by the second dove, marking the "renewal of life" and the return of humanity to the surface of the earth, was plucked from the slopes of the Mt. of Olives." "HALE-BOPP - LAST SEEN BY NOAH?"A comet discovered in July 1995 has now become bright enough to be easily seen with the naked eye, even from urban sites, and will remain easily visible to northern-hemisphere observers through April 1997. The Hale-Bopp Comet orbits and is still approaching, the sun, with its closest approach (perihelion) occurring tomorrow night, April 1, 1997. Daniel W. E. Green of the Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics stated that the latest orbital calculations indicate that the Hale-Bopp comet last passed through the inner solar system about 4210 years ago.

An Arutz-7 correspondent noted that according to the ancient Jewish text Seder Olam Rabah, the comet's previous appearance was approximately the same year that Noah began building the ark. {ARUTZ 7 3/31 C}  The Seven Noachide Laws are actually not just seven laws, but seven categories of laws. Mankind was presented with moral obligations from the moment of its Creation. Man was bidden by G-d to keep seven Laws which form the basis for a well functioning society. These Seven Laws were given to Noah, as the progenitor of all mankind, this being their permanent share of the truth, containing both spiritual and material benefits appropriate to them." (A Light to the Nations - Rabbi Yoel Schwartz).

Prohibition of idol-worship
Prohibition of blasphemy
Prohibition of theft
Prohibition of murder
Prohibition of sexual misconduct
Prohibition of eating meat cut from a living animal
Prohibition of failing to set up law courts. (ibid). 

These Seven Laws are the minimum which are obligatory upon all of humanity. "Belief in the Creator involves acknowledging that He alone created and formed everything, made, makes and will continue to make everything; One must believe that G-d is One and alone, with a Oneness that is like none other that was, is, or will be.  He is also incorporeal, having no bodily attributes or comparison with anything. Once this concept is fully understood it becomes apparent why the prohibtion of idolatry forbids envisaging G-d, or believing that He has any form whatever, including the human. He existed before creation and will continue to exist after it ceases to be, and He underwent no change by virtue of having made the creation; this last is the paradox of simultaneous existence and non-existence, which gives rise to many existential dilemmas concerning the relationship between being and nothingness, because it is not properly understood as a paradox deriving from this Divine attribute.    It is proper to pray to Him, and to Him alone, and one may not turn to Him through an intermediary. This interposition of intermediaries is the factor that most present-day non-Jewish religions have in common, save that of Islam, and true belief for the non-Jew involves a firm rejection of these ideas." ibid.

"Belief in the World to Come, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the coming of the Messiah, is also proper for non-Jews, and they may study Scripture as a source of the promises, guarantees and assurances that were given to the Jews." ibid.

An excellent book for the student who wishes to understand the chronology of the Bible is "The Sequence of Events in the Old Testament" by Eliezer Shulman - Published by the Ministry of Defense - Publishing House - Israel. This is a Jewish book and is available at Jewish bookshops also, despite the title "Old Testament" being used rather than "TeNach", because it is available for Gentile tourists.