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

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Vol. 16   No. 2

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas

Parshas No'ach

Reward and Punishment,
G-d's Way

(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

"And he said 'Cursed be Cana'an, a slave of slaves he shall be (yih'yeh) to his brother' " (9:28).

Cham, Rabeinu Bachye points out, was guilty of terribly degrading his father, by not only failing to cover him as he lay naked in his tent, but by mocking him (by spreading the word to those outside). Consequently, his punishment was to adopt the most lowly and degrading status of a slave, measure for measure.

Shem and Yefes, on the other hand, were rewarded with the Mitzvah of Tzitzis and burial, respectively (as Rashi explains). It is interesting, R. Bachye remarks, that although the two brothers jointly performed the same good deed, their rewards differed. The reward of Tzitzis, he explains, is far superior to that of burial. It is therefore clear that the instigator of the Mitzvah was Shem, and Yafes merely took his cue from his brother. This teaches us, he explains, that if two people perform a Mitzvah, they will not necessarily receive the same reward. Rather, each will receive reward according to the effort he puts into it, as Chazal have taught 'le'Fum tza'ara agra'.

There are many examples of this. R. Bachye cites that of Yosef, to whose name one letter of G-d's holy Name (a 'Yud') was added (see Tehilim 81:6) following the Kidush Hashem he made, when he refused the advances of his mistress; whereas Yehudah was given a name that contains all four letters of the Holy Name which he was destined to sanctify, when he admitted that he was the guilty party, thereby saving the lives of Tamar and her unborn twins. Chazal attribute this distinction to the fact that whereas Yosef sanctified G-d's Name in private, Yehudah sanctified it in public.


R. Bachye finally cites the Medrash, which comments that the word "yih'yeh" (Gematriyah thirty) is a hint that, all in all, thirty families would descend from Cana'an. What's more, he says, that is why the Torah obligates the owner of an ox that gores an Eved Cana'ani thirty Shekalim.

* * *

Adam & Eve
(Choosing the Right Helpmate)

(Adapted from the Or ha'Chayim)

Last week, we discussed the Or ha'Chayim's interpretation of the Pasuk in Bereishis "It is not good for Adam to be alone, I will make for him a helpmate corresponding to him". We explained that it was not in order to procreate that G-d separated Eve from Adam, but in order to serve as his helpmate, once Adam discovered that Eve, and Eve only, was ideally suited to fill that role, and that none of G-d's other creations was eligible. And it was towards that end that G-d saw fit to separate them, as it would have been most inconvenient for them to have to constantly accompany one another wherever they went, the one in his capacity as a servant of G-d, the other, as the servant of Adam.

I would add that, bearing in mind that Eve had a mind-set of her own, and a very different mindset to boot, she also needed a body of her own, so that, notwithstanding the fact that she was obligated to serve Adam, she would be able to live a relatively independent life that would suit her mindset.

Rashi explains that G-d saw fit to separate Adam and Eve in order to make it clear that He is the sole Master of the world, since He alone, is One (He has no need of a helpmate [kevayachol]), whereas all other creatures cannot exist on their own. And since they need a helpmate (Adam included), nobody would subsequently be led to err, into believing that the world is led by two Masters.

Indeed, Rashi himself comments on the Pasuk that concludes the creation of the first day " yom echad", that the Torah prefers this expression to the more grammatically correct "yom rishon", to teach us that it was only on the first day that G-d was truly One, for on the second day, He created the angels.


A third question posed by the Or ha'Chayim is that if G-d deemed it necessary to separate Adam and Eve, why did he first create them together? Why did He not create them separately to begin with?

And he points to the fact that when an animal wants to mate, it chooses a mate that is conveniently close, not necessarily the same mate with which it was intimate previously. Not so man, who develops a close bond with the same mate for as long as they live. And it is this closeness that G-d achieved by creating Eve from one of Adam's limbs, as he himself declared "a bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh".


One final question, on the Medrash which teaches us that had Adam not sinned, then the snake, who had legs and was able to speak, would have traveled far and wide to see to his every need. That being the case, why did Adam find it necessary to examine every animal, as we explained, to arrive at the conclusion that only Eve could possibly fill that role? Why could the snake not have fulfilled that mission?

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted mainly from Rabeinu Bachye)

Three Midos

"These are the generations of No'ach, No'ach was a righteous man (Tzadik), perfect (tomim) in his generations, No'ach walked with G-d" (6:9).

Having already explained in his introduction the sequence of the three Midos 'Mis'halech' (which he describes as a Tzadik who spreads the knowledge of G-d through astronomy), 'Temimus' (perfect character-traits) and 'Tzadik'(who does all that G-d requires of him), explains that it was these three Midos that placed No'ach on a higher plane than everybody else in his generation.

In fact, he explains, the Pasuk mentions his name three times, to teach us that he reached the highest possible levels with regard to these three qualities.


The Ten Nations

"And Cana'an bore Tzidon his firstborn and Cheis. And the Yevusi, and the Emori and the Girgashi. And the Chivi and the Arki and the Sini. And the Arvadi, and the Tzemari ." (10:15-18).

Although the Torah has listed here Cana'an's eleven sons, they actually incorporate the ten nations that G-d promised to Avaham (see Lech-L'cha 15:19:20, though there too, the Torah inserts the Refa'im, which Rashi defines as the land of Og, [and omits the Chivi]).

However as R. Bachye explains, the names given here were changed later, and do not therefore tally with the names that we know.

Here then are the ten nations given to Avraham (as we know them), according to Rabeinu Bachye and the Ramban:

Cana'ani (Tzidon) Arki
Chiti Sini
Yevusi Arvadi
Emori Tzemari
Girgashi Chamasi
One of the latter five it appears, changed his name to 'P'rizi'.

One of them was too small to be considered an independent nation and he therefore merged with one of his brothers, and the other three changed their names to 'Keidmi, K'nizi and Kadmoni' which according to the Ramban in Devarim (19:5), are equivalent to Amon, Mo'av and Edom, who were given temporary ownership over these lands (due to their various merits). In the days of Mashi'ach, they will be given to their rightful owner, Yisrael, in keeping with G-d's promise to Avraham. In the meantime, Yisrael in the days of Yehoshua only conquered the lands of the seven nations, as the Torah informs us on a number of occasions, but not those of the last three.

Interestingly, until the conquest of Cana'an in the days of Yehoshua bin Nun, G-d deliberately placed these seven lands under the jurisdiction of the Cana'anim. By doing so, based on the fact that they had just been declared slaves, and on the principle that whatever belongs to a slave belongs to his Master, He ensured that the land would remain in the possession of Yisrael, and that nobody else would be able to lay claim to it.


Midas ha'Din & Midas ho'Rachamim

"That is why it was called Bavel, because that was where Hashem confused the language of the whole world and from there Hashem scattered them " (11:9).

Whenever the Great Name of Hashem is hinted backwards in four consecutive words (as it is here in the first letters of "Ha'aretz U'mi'shom Hefitzom Hashem"), it is a sign of the Midas ha'Din. Indeed here, they had spoken against G-d when they proclaimed "Come let us build a city ", and so G-d's Midas ha'Din punished them by destroying their verbal communication system ('Midah ke'neged Midah').

Yet the Torah hints to the Midas ha'Rachamim, by virtue of its use of the Name of Hashem (Havayah) which denotes Rachamim. This is because, in contrast to the Dor ha'Mabul, where theft and other man-related sins were rampant, and which was therefore completely destroyed, here there was love and unity, as the Pasuk specifically writes. And that explains as to why G-d, in His mercy, only scattered them across the face of the earth, but did not destroy them completely.


Terach Goes to Olam ha'Ba

"And Terach died in Charan" (11:32).

The truth is, says Rashi, that Terach died more than sixty years after Avraham left Charan for Cana'an; and it is only so that Avraham should not be accused of abandoning his father that, based on the principle 'Resha'im are called dead even during their lifetimes', that the Torah refers to the idol-worshipping Terach as 'dead'.

Rabeinu Bachye cites a Medrash which, based on the Pasuk in Lech-L'cha (15:15) "And you (Avraham) will come to your fathers in peace", maintains that his father Terach, must have received a portion in Olam ha'Ba. To reconcile this with what we just learned, he explains that this is not because he did Teshuvah, but because of the merit of his righteous son, Avraham.

See Rashi there, and Ramban here.

* * *


'And they said: "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower whose top reaches the Heaven, and let us make an image on its top and place a sword in its hand; And it will fight on our behalf, before we are scattered over the face of the earth' (11:4).


'And G-d revealed Himself to punish them for building the city ' (11:5).


' G-d said to the seventy angels that stand before Him "Come now, let us descend and confuse their languages ' (11:7).


'And G-d revealed Himself on the city, and with Him seventy angels, corresponding to the seventy angels, each one with the language of its nation, and they scattered them over the face of the earth, forming them into seventy languages. When, failing to understand one another, they began killing each other, they stopped building the city' (11:8).



"These are the generations of No'ach, No'ach was a righteous man; No'ach went with G-d (6:9).

The word "No'ach" appears three times in this Pasuk, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, because No'ach saw three worlds; he saw the world before it was destroyed, he saw it in a state of destruction and he saw it after it had had been rebuilt.

Alternatively, he explains, No'ach was one of the three people, each of whom was responsible for the salvation of three people:

No'ach saved his three sons, Shem, Cham and Yafes (together with their families); Daniel saved Chananyah, Misha'el and Azaryah (when he interpreted the dream), and Iyov saved his three friends, Elifaz ha'Teimani, Bildad ha'Shuchi and Tzofer ha'Na'amasi;

And a third explanation, based on a play on the word "No'ach: (which means pleasant, or well-liked) is that he was 'No'ach' to Hashem and'No'ach to his contemporaries, 'No'ach' to the celestial-beings and 'No'ach' to those who live on earth, 'No'ach' in this world and 'No'ach' in the 'World to Come'.


" a bottom floor, a second floor and a third floor you shall make it, and I (va'Ani) " (6:16/17).

The Torah deliberately juxtaposes the word "va'Ani" next to the words "you shall make it", the Ba'al ha'Turim explains, a hint that if not for a goodly measure of Divine Assistance, there is no way that No'ach could possibly have succeeded in constructing an ark of such gigantic proportions on his own.


"And from all the living creatures from all flesh, two from each species you shall bring to the ark to live with you (lehachayos itoch)" (6:19).

The Gematriyah of "lehachayos itoch" is equivalent to that of 'Lo T'reifah ve'lo mechusar eiver' (not [an animal that has been] torn, and not [a bird that is] missing a limb).


"And he sent the raven, which flew backwards and forwards until the water dried up (ad yevoshes ha'mayim) from the earth" (8:7).

The Gematriyah of "Yevoshes" spelt with a 'Vav' (the way it is pronounced) is equivalent to that of "Nachal K'ris", a River associated with Eliyahu ha'Navi when he hid from King Achav) a hint that the raven was designated to help the Navi at that stage and to bring him meat from the kitchens of Achav's royal palace.

Whereas the same word "Yevoshes" (without a "Vav', the way it is written) contains the word 'Tishbi', which, as is well-known, is one of the titles of Eliyahu (Eliyahu ha'Tishbi).

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in his article Reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch And are not necessarily Halachah

Mitzvah 113:
Not to Eat Meat and Milk

It is forbidden to eat meat and milk that have been cooked together, as the Torah writes in Ki-Sissa (34:26) "Do no cook a kid-goat in its mother's milk". This Pasuk comes to forbid eating or deriving benefit from meat and milk. You may well ask as to why the Torah, rather than specifically stating the prohibition as 'eating', prefers to present it as 'cooking'? The answer is that, as opposed to other prohibitions that involve eating, the Torah is coming to forbid eating meat and milk even if one derives no benefit from it, e.g. if one swallows it without chewing it, or even if he eats it hot, in such a way that one burns one's throat in the process. With regard to any other eating prohibition, one would not be Chayav for eating in such a way; whereas someone who eats basar be'chalav in this manner is subject to Malkos. For as the Gemara writes in Pesachim (25a), the Torah declines to use the term 'Achilah' with regard to basar be'chalav, to teach us that one receives Malkos, even if one eats it in an unusual manner. One is not Chayav however, unless the meat and the milk have been cooked together, just as the Torah writes. And although the Gemara in Chulin (115b) states that the prohibition of cooking appears in the Torah three times, to teach us the triple Isur of eating, cooking and deriving benefit from meat and milk, we can only really count them as two La'avin. This is because eating and deriving benefit are considered as one and the same La'av, as the Gemara in Pesachim (21b) explains 'Wherever the Torah writes "Lo sochal" or "Lo sochlu", it incorporates an Isur Hana'ah. The Torah tends to include all forms of benefit in the Lashon of eating, because eating is the most common form of benefit that everybody needs, as the Torah writes in Ki Sissa (25:11 [in connection with Nadav and Avihu and the elders of Yisrael who 'saw the Shechinah' at Har Sinai]) "and they ate and they drank". Perhaps you will then ask why, if two La'avin would suffice, the Torah writes three? This question would be valid, the author answers, if the Torah had written in one place "Lo sevashel" and in another "Lo sochal", in which case, based on the principle that "Achilah" implies both eating and Hana'ah, we would already know both prohibitions, and the third Pasuk would indeed have been superfluous. But now that the Torah does not mention Achilah at all, we would not have known the Isur Hana'ah at all, if it had not inserted the third La'av. And if you ask further why the Torah does not then write "Lo sochal" in one of the cases, and subsequently make do with two La'avin? The answer, as we explained earlier, is to teach us that one is Chayav even if one eats without deriving benefit from the mixture. What emerges from this is that when Chazal say that one La'av is for eating, one for Hana'ah and one, for cooking, they do not mean that there are in fact, three La'avin, but that we need one of the three Pesukim to teach us the Isur Hana'ah.

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