Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:

Back to This Week's Parsha Previous Issues

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

Vol. 14   No. 2

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Leah bas R. Aryeh Leib z.l.

Parshas No'ach

Seeing Double
(Adapted from the Or ha'Chayim)

With reference to the Pasuk "And G-d smelt the pleasant aroma, and He said to His heart 'I will not continue to curse any again the land on account of mankind, for the inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth, and I will not continue to smite all living like I did' " (8:21), the Or ha'Chayim asks why the Torah repeats the expression "I will not continue"?

Rashi explains that the repetition is indicative of an oath, and he cites the Gemara in Shavu'os (36b) to that effect. The Or ha'Chayim however, queries Rashi. He cites R. Elazar there, who states that 'La'av La'av is an oath ... ', to which Rava adds that this speaks where the Torah actually writes the word "Lo" twice, and he quotes (from Pesukim 11 and 15) "And all flesh will not be cut off again from the water of the flood, and there will not be another flood to destroy the world ... and the water will never again become a flood.

He suggests that perhaps Rashi had a different text in his Gemara, since our version of the Gemara substantiates Rashi's principle, only it derives it from a different source than he does.


The reason that the Gemara declines to learn the above principle from the repetition that Rashi quotes, says the Or ha'Chayim, is because the two Pesukim are clearly referring to two different issues, and this answers the question with which we began. The first "Lo Osif" is referring to the land, which was cursed following the sin of Adam ha'Rishon, and again after that of Kayin. Therefore, G-d saw fit on this occasion, to take an oath that neither the land nor the people would ever be punished in this way again.


One also needs to understand, says the Or ha'Chayim, why the Torah (in Pasuk 11, which we cited above) finds it necessary to insert the opening phrase "And all flesh will not be cut off again from the water of the flood". The Gemara learns the oath from the continuation of that Pasuk and the repetition in the following one, rendering the earlier phrase seemingly superfluous.

He therefore cites the Gemara in Sotah (11), which ascribes Paroh's decision to drown the Jewish babies to G-d's promise never to send a flood again, as a result of which He would be powerless to retaliate. What Paroh did not know however, was that if G-d had promised not to bring a flood on the entire world, this would not stop Him from bringing a flood on part of it. Alternatively, G-d may have promised not to bring a flood on the people, but that would not prevent Him from bringing the people to the water and drowning them (as indeed the Torah writes in Beshalach (14:27) "and Egypt was traveling towards it").

And it is these two distinctions that we learn from the Pasuk. The Torah clearly indicates that it is only 'all flesh' that will never again be exterminated, but that part of mankind might still be punished by a flood. And the Pasuk continues "and there will not be another flood to destroy the world" - implying that even if G-d does destroy part of the world, He will not destroy it in the same way as He did in the time of No'ach, when He blotted out the actual land.

It emerges that one La'av is to protect the people, and the second, the land.

According to this, the repetition of the La'av (that denotes an oath) is really from "And all flesh will not be cut off again ... ", together with "and the water will never again become a flood" in the following (in spite of the Gemara citing it slightly differently).


Alternatively, says the Or ha'Chayim, we might interpret the Pasuk "And all flesh will not be cut off again ... " to mean any flesh (i.e. even part of mankind), like the Gemara in Sanhedrin (81a), where R. Akiva explains the Pasuk "Do not contaminate yourselves with all these" to mean 'with any of these'.

If that is so, the second explanation in Sotah (that we cited earlier) disagrees with the first, in that G-d will never again send a flood, not to destroy the entire world (neither the people nor the land, as we explained), and not even to destroy part of it.

And as for the Gemara's second explanation (that G-d will not send a flood to the people, but that He might send the people to the water), that is inherent in all the Pesukim.


It is also clear from the Medrash citing Avraham's prayer in defense of S'dom and Amorah, that G-d's promise not to destroy the world would be meaningless, if it was confined to destroying the world with water. Indeed, what would His oath be worth, if He did not destroy the world with water, but destroyed it with fire instead? In other words, He swore that He would never again destroy the world, neither by means of water, nor by any alternative means!

* * *

Parshah Pearls

When We Do Ours, G-d Does His

"And you, take for yourself from all the food that is eaten and gather it to you, and it will serve you and them as food" (6:21).

It seems, says the P'ninim mi'Shulchan ha'G'ro, that G-d was telling No'ach to prepare the amount of a k'beitzah (an egg- volume) of each food that man eats (as that is the minimum Shi'ur Se'udah, as the Gemara explains in Yuma 80a). Likewise, he had to prepare the minimum volume of food eaten by each and every animal. This is implied by the words "all the food that is eaten". G-d on his part, would then send His blessing, to increase the volume of each item of food, so that it would suffice for all the inhabitants of the Teivah for the entire year (as the Pasuk concludes "and it shall serve you and them as food").

Otherwise, we would have to say that No'ach actually gathered sufficient food to feed all the inhabitants of the Teivah for a year. If that was the case, for the Teivah to be able to hold so much food would have been nothing short of a miracle, and it is surprising as to why no mention is made of it anywhere.


Wine and Galus

"And he was exposed (va'yisgal) in his tent" (9:20).

The Medrash, commenting on the word "va'yisgal", explains that it was due to excessive drinking of wine (symbolizing the pleasures of life) that would cause No'ach's descendents (Yisrael) to be sent into exile ('golus') at the time of the first Churban, as the Navi Amos informs us (6:6).

Perhaps, the K'li Yakar suggests, this is the source of the Medrash Yalkut, which tells us how, when No'ach planted his vineyard, the Satan paid him a visit, and celebrated with him by Shechting three animals, first a lamb, then a lion and then a Chazir.

The simple explanation is that when a person drinks one glass of wine, he feels as timid as a lamb; give him a second glass, and he feels as strong as a lion, whereas after the third glass, he begins to behave like a chazir.

Taken from a deeper perspective, however, these three animals hint at the three nations into whose lands No'ach's descendents were destined to be exiled, Egypt, who worshipped the lamb, Bavel (Nevuchadnetzar), whom the Navi Yirmiyah compares to a lion (4:7), and Rome, whom the Pasuk in Tehilim refers to as a boar (a wild chazir [80:14]).

Incidently, says the K'li Yakar, the connection between the Satan and wine lies in the word 'anovim' (grapes), whose letters 'Ayin', 'Nun', 'Veis' and 'Mem', are preceded by 'Siyn', 'Mem', 'Alef' and 'Lamed', which spell Satan.


A Body Without a Soul

"And your fear and your dread will be on all the beasts of the land ... " (9:2).

The Gemara in Shabbos (151) queries the statement of Rav Papa, that a lion (or any other wild beast) will never attack two people, inasmuch as the facts prove that it will (and it does). And the Gemara replies with another statement of Rami bar Aba, who says that a wild beast will only attack when it perceives an animal (i.e. a Rasha).

The question is asked however, that if the person is a Tzadik, then it will not attack even a lone person (so why does Rav Papa refer to two people)?

R. Ya'akov mi'Lisa answers in the following manner.

As we know, a person is made up of two parts, a body and a Soul. Resha'im however, by virtue of their evil deeds, discard the soul (which is synonymous with a Tzelem Elokim [a Divine Image]).

What Rav Papa therefore means to say is that a wild beast will not attack (not two individuals, but) a person who comprises two parts, a body and a soul (a person with a Tzelem Elokim). And it is only when it perceives a body without a soul (a person who has discarded his Tzelem Elokim) , that it attacks.


Spotting the Thief

"And he (No'ach) knew what his small son had done to him. And he said 'Cursed be Cana'an (Cham's fourth and youngest son) ... " (9:24).

The Pasuk informs us that when No'ach awoke, he knew what Cham had done to him. It does not however, divulge his source of information, comments the K'li Yakar.

This is not a problem he replies, as No'ach put two and two together to arrive at the necessary conclusion.

The Gemara in Sanhedrin (108b) tells us that, in spite of No'ach's orders to the contrary, three 'creatures' cohabited in the Teivah - the raven, the dog and Cham (each of which subsequently received his due punishment).

It was therefore obvious to No'ach that the chief and only suspect in this case was the son who had been declared guilty of the same category of sin. So he did not hesitate to place the guilt at Cham's door.

This explanation follows those who explain that Cham raped his father. According to others, he actually raped him (see Rashi, Pasuk 22/23).


Tuvya Sins and Zigud gets Whipped?


The question arises as to why No'ach chose to curse Cana'an rather than Cham himself?

See Rashi.

The K'li Yakar cites three answers.

1. Some say that it was Cana'an who first spotted his father in that state, and who ran to tell his father, Cham (Rashi cites this opinion, too).

2. Others explain that G-d had just blessed No'ach and his sons (9:1), and it would therefore have been inappropriate for No'ach to directly curse someone whom G-d had just blessed.

3. Yet others point out that Cana'an was a regular adulterer, and it was from him that his father learned the trade.

* * *


'Construct for yourself a 'boat' of wood from the mountains of Ararat (where it would ultimately land, stuck between two mountain-tops [8:4]), a hundred and fifty cubicles you shall make it along the length, and thirty-six across the width (5,400 cubicles in total), with ten rooms in the middle to store the food, five 'Apantiyusa' (passageways?) on the right, and five on the left' (6:14).


'Go to the river Pishon ("there is to be found crystal and the onyx-stone" [Bereishis 2:11, Nosei K'lei Yonasan]), take from there a precious stone and place it in the 'boat' as a source of light for yourself' (6:16).


'From every species of bird ... two from each species, will come to you by means of an angel who will take hold of them and bring them to you, to survive' (6:20).


'In the sixth hundredth year ... in the second month (that of Cheshvan, because up to the Exodus from Egypt, the whole world counted the months from Tishri), which was the beginning of the year, starting from the creation (like the opinion of R. Eliezer). On the 17th of this month ... all the fountains of the great deep were split. But the people took their children and stopped up the cracks with them. So G-d caused the skylights of the heaven to open' (7:11).


'And the 'boat' came to rest on the seventeenth of the seventh month (Nisan) on the mountains of Ararat. The name of the one mountain was Kardanya (Ararat), and of the other, Arminya, where the city of Armanya would later be built. And the water gradually subsided until the first day of the tenth month (Tamuz), when the tops of the mountains became visible' (8:4/5). See Rashi and refer to chart in main article, vol. 12.

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 59:
A Mitzvah for Beis-Din to Judge the Din of a Shomer Sachar and a Socher

Beis-Din is obliged to judge the Din of a Shomer Sachar and a Socher (someone who guards an article that is deposited by him for a fee and one who hires either an animal from his friend to ride on or to work with, or who hires movable objects). Should a dispute arise between the owner and the Shomer, it is a Mitzvah for the Beis-Din to arbitrate between them, as the Torah writes in Mishpatim (22:9) "When a man gives a donkey, an ox , a lamb or any other animal to look after, and it either dies, is wounded or is captured ... ".

The reason for the Mitzvah is obvious.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah ... The Gemara in Bava Metzi'a (93) rules that the Shomer swears for big onsin (damages or accidents that are beyond his control), but is obliged to pay or theft or loss, which are partially Peshi'ah (negligence) and partially o'nes, on account of the fee that the one receives, and permission to use it free of charge that the other one receives (unlike a Shomer Chinam, who is Patur from paying for both of the above cases, since he gains nothing for looking after the article). Consequently, he is only Chayav to pay for peshi'ah (negligence) ... The Din of someone who hires labourers, animals or houses, and that of a craftsman who spoils the article that he is employed to manufacture or of someone who shows a coin to a banker, and it turns out to be a dud ... The Din of someone who hires from the owner whilst the latter is working for him ... the Din of a case which is initially Peshi'ah, but which turns into an O'nes ... the Din of one Shomer who hands over the article to another Shomer, whether the latter is a superior category of Shomer or an inferior one ... Anyone who deposits an article with a Shomer (i.e. with a Socher or a Sho'el [a borrower]), does so on the understanding that his wife and grown-up children may use it too (Bava Metzi'a 36b) ... The Gemara there (29b) also forbids a hirer to rent out the hired article to somebody else. The Ramban confines this ruling to movable objects, because of the assumption that a person does not want his article to be in the hands of an unspecified person. It does not apply however, to Reuven who rents a house from Shimon. He is permitted to sub-let it to Levi, since there we assume that the owner will not mind, provided that Levi's family is no larger than Reuven's. And the same applies to renting a boat. Others disagree with the Ramban and do not differentiate between movable objects and a house ... and the remaining details, are all discussed in the sixth and seventh Perakim of Bava Kama, in the third and fourth Perakim of Bava Metzi'a and in the eighth Perek of Shevu'os.

This Mitzvah applies to men everywhere and at all times. Anyone who is fit to judge and who fails to do so, has negated the Asei. Even though the Torah has already issued us with a general command to judge the case of a claimant and a defendant who come to court to be judged, it nevertheless sees fit to specifically add the obligation to do so in connection with the Shomrim, since they are issues that are common in everyday life.


Mitzvah 60:
A Mitzvah for Beis-Din to Judge the Din of Borrower

It is a Mitzvah to judge the Din of a borrower (i.e. someone who has borrowed an article or an animal for which he receives no payment whatsoever, on whose behalf the owner is doing a favour). Should a dispute arise between them, it is incumbent upon the Beis-Din to arbitrate between them, as the Torah writes in Mishpatim (22:13) "And if a man borrows something from his friend ... ". Regarding the Din of a Sho'el, the Torah obliges him to pay even for pure Onsin, since the article enters the charge of the borrower, permitting him to use it without it costing him anything in return. It can be compared to someone who borrows money, who cannot exempt himself from paying with a claim of Onsin. (Cont.)

For sponsorships and adverts call 651 9502

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel