by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS NOACH 5772 BS"D
Ch. 6, v. 13: "Ki moloh ho'oretz chomos" - Because the world is full of thievery - Rabbi Yochonon said: See how severe thievery is. The generation of the great deluge transgressed all the sins and yet, their verdict of total annihilation was sealed on account of their thievery. (gemara Sanhedrin 108a)
What is a prime example of their thievery? A person would go into the public domain with a basket full of lupine beans. People would snatch single beans, each having a value of less than a "prutoh," an amount that one cannot retrieve through the courts, until the person was left with nothing. (gemara B.M. Yerushalmi 4:2)
We might add that based on this gemara it was most befitting that the punishment was destruction by rain. Similarly, each drop of rain causes no damage, but when there is enough of it, it is devastating, just as each person stealing just one bean. (n.l.)
Why does theft bring in its wake more severe punishment than even transgressing the three cardinal sins? If a person's possessions are his own Hashem would as a first step take away a person's possessions as a punishment and a wake-up call. If a person's possessions were gotten dishonestly there is no choice but to go for the jugular vein. (Shomati)
Ch. 6, v. 16,17: "Taa'se'hoh, Vaani" - Shall you make her, And I - The juxtaposition of these two words alludes to the fact that Noach was unable to build the ark on his own and he had Divine assistance. (Baal Haturim)
Ch. 6, v. 21: "V'atoh kach l'cho mikol maachol asher yei'ocheil v'osafto ei'lecho" - And you take for yourself of all foods that are consumed and you shall gather them to yourself - The Torah in these words alludes to proper etiquette when we eat. Rather than displaying animalistic gluttony when we eat by bending ourselves to the food, we should take the food and bring it to us. (Maada'nei Melech based on the Holy Rabbi Yechiel Mechel of Zlotchev)
Ch. 6, v. 21: "V'atoh kach l'cho mikol maachol asher yei'ocheil v'osafto ei'lecho v'hoyoh l'cho v'lo'hem l'ochloh" - And you take for yourself of all foods that are consumed and you shall gather them to yourself and it shall be for you and for them to consume - Isn't it obvious that the food was for consumption? Based on the M.R., which says that before the flood people planted and the earth yielded sufficient produce for forty years, it is understood. All was to be destroyed. Noach might have thought that besides collecting food to sustain themselves in the ark more of this special produce should be collected and saved for post-deluvian planting. This is why Hashem said to only collect for consumption.
Why indeed was it inappropriate to collect for post-flood agricultural pursuits? Possibly, the world's rebelling against Hashem gave it the status of an "ir hanidachas" where all its property is to be destroyed and it is prohibited to derive benefit from it. That which was needed for survival was permitted, but beyond that not. (Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman Hy"d)
Ch. 7, v. 10: "Va'y'hi l'shivas ha'yomim u'mei hamabul hoyu al ho'oretz" - And it was after the seven days and the waters of the flood were upon the earth - What is the significance of waiting seven days before bringing the flood?
1) These were the seven days of mourning the loss of the righteous Mesushelach. (gemara Sanhedrin 108b)
2) Hashem waited another seven days and during this time gave the inhabitants of the world a taste of Olom Habo so that when they realized that they would die, they would comprehend the great loss they had for not behaving properly. (gemara Sanhedrin 108b)
3) These seven days were Hashem's sort of pre-mourning before the fact. The gemara M.K. Yerushalmi 3:5 derives from this that mourning lasts for seven days.
Ch. 7, v. 17: "Va'y'hi hamabul arbo'im yom" - And the flood was for forty days - These forty days correspond to their sins. They served false gods, thus negating the values of the Torah, which was given after Moshe was in the heavens for forty days. They committed adultery, 'forcing' Hashem to create forms of illegitimate children, which takes place on the fortieth day of gestation. They stole, "gezel," whose numeric value is forty. (Kli Yokor)
M.R. says that before the great deluge the people planted once and the earth would yield sufficient food for forty years. It would seem that the great physical blessings brought the people to indulge further and further, leading to the decadent, destructive lives they led. In turn, Hashem brought rain that lasted for forty days to destroy them. (n.l.)
Ch. 7, v. 23: "Va'yisho'eir ach Noach" - And only Noach remained - Based on the opinion that Noach was a "tzadik tomim" in relation to the rest of the people of his generation, at this juncture, when all of mankind was destroyed, save Noach and his family, he no longer had the appellation of "tzadik tomim, as there were no others with whom to compare him. This is "Va'yisho'eir ach Noach," only his name remained and he was stripped of his accolades. (Ksav Sofer)
Ch. 8, v. 7: "Va'yishlach es ho'oreiv yotzoe voshove" - And he sent the raven leaving and returning - Rashi explains that even though Noach sent out the raven it remained near the ark, circling around it, as it suspected Noach of having relations with its mate during its absence. This seem insane! Some explain that the raven knew it was being sent on a dangerous mission, as it might likely have no place to land if it tires in mid-flight. Feeling that Noach was prejudiced against it, it came up with the wildest concerns. This plays itself out by humans as well. (Ro'isi)
Alternatively, the creatures in the ark surely knew that they were in a unique situation, as predators did not attack others, they all survived in cramped quarters, etc. We can thus say they were aware to the extreme that they were the only few representatives of their species that would survive and rebuild the world's species population. They thus felt an extreme responsibility to see to it that no harm, even the most remote possibility of harm, befall themselves. Hence the raven was concerned that Noach might misuse his partner. (n.l.)
Ch. 8, v. 11: "V'hi'nei a'lei zayis torof b'fihoh" - And behold a yanked out olive leaf in her mouth - The degenerate people who were living before the great flood, the antediluvians, not only involved themselves with immoral behaviour of unions with other species, but also cross-bred plant life. This is also prohibited even for a ben Noach, as mentioned in the Rambam hilchos m'lochim 10:7. This is the reason that plant life was destroyed, as mentioned in the M.R. The gemara Kilayim Yerushalmi 1:7 says that an olive tree cannot accept a graft from another species of tree. Thus the olive tree was not subject to total annihilation, as were other tree species. This is how the dove came across an olive tree. (Pardes Yoseif)
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