Weekly Reading Insights: Noach 5765




Overview of the Weekly Reading: Noach

To be read on 1 Cheshvan 5765 (Oct. 16)

Torah: Gen. 6:9-11:32, maftir: Num. 28:9-15; Haftorah: Isaiah 66 (Rosh Chodesh)

Noach is the 2nd Reading out of 12 in Genesis and 2nd overall, and 15th out of 54 in overall length.

G-d told Noach that the world was filled with perversion and He will destroy it through a flood. He ordered Noach to build an ark, promising to save him and his family. He also told him to bring into the ark seven pairs of every clean animal and two pairs of every unclean animal, and seven pairs of every bird, as well as food for his family and for the animals. It rained for 40 days and nights, and all was destroyed. The water remained for a year. G-d then commanded Noach to leave the ark, and promised that He would never again cause such mass destruction by flood. Noach offers sacrifices from the clean species. G-d placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign of this covenant. As a result of an unpleasant incident, Noach cursed his son Cham, whose son was Canaan, that he would always be slave to his brothers. The Torah then chronicles the generations of Noach’s sons. The earth had one language, and the people decided to build a tower to heaven. G-d saw this, and made the people speak different languages so that they could not understand each other. He then scattered them across the world. The chronicles continue through to Avram, who married Sarai. They settled in Charan.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:02-65/Noach)

Here it is written that "This will comfort us" and elsewhere it is written "This is G-d, whose revelation we have waited for, we will rejoice and be happy in His salvation of us." (Isaiah 25:9) Happy are those righteous ones whose names are registered with the seal of the King, to be registered in His Name, as He places them on the earth as befits them.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:02-65/Noach)

When Nimrod saw that his scheme [to get rid of Abraham] failed, he gathered four kings and waged war against five kings, all in order to snatch the divine beneficence from our father Abraham.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:02-65/Noach)

Abraham had "awakened" himself to recognize and serve his Creator. As a result he received considerable input from Divine Inspiration. This is what is meant when I said that rapprochement to G-d must proceed from "the bottom up", i.e. man must be the initiator.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"Take to you of all food that is eaten...and it shall be for food for you, and for them." (6:21)
When a righteous person consumes food, the food fulfills its purpose in creation, becomes spiritually elevated, and "justifies" its existence. G-d therefore told Noah, "It shall be food for you, and for them [i.e., spiritual sustenance for the various foods themselves]."
(Tiferet Shlomo)

"Noah walked with G-d." (6:9)
Noah himself was a G-d-fearing man, but he did not reprove other people or encourage them to improve their behavior. For that reason he is termed "perfect in his generation": He was not disliked by his fellow man, as no one really cared how he conducted his personal life - provided he did not make any unpleasant demands on them.
(Ketav Sofer)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org


"They went to Noah into the ark...of all flesh where there is the breath of life." (Gen. 7:15)

The G-dly revelation that was manifested in the ark had a profound effect on all the animals, causing them to live together amicably and harmoniously for an entire year. Thus the conditions in the ark were the prototype and forerunner of the Messianic era, when according to many commentators, the Biblical prophecy of "and the wolf shall live with the lamb" will be fulfilled in the literal sense.

(Lubavitcher Rebbe)

"I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of My covenant between Me and the earth...and I will remember My covenant." (Gen. 9:13-14)

Before the Flood, the clouds in the sky were thick and dense, obscuring the light of the sun. The Flood, which cleansed and purified the earth, also refined the clouds and made it possible for the rainbow to be observed, a phenomenon caused by the sun's rays. The rainbow, a product of the process of purification, is therefore symbolic of the Final Redemption, which will come about through the refinement and elevation of the physical world, as stated in the Zohar: "When a rainbow appears with its shining multicolored hues -- await the arrival of Moshiach."

(Lubavitcher Rebbe)

[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:02-65/Noach)

In connection with the flood in this week's Torah portion, it says that in the year 600 all of the subterranean waterways burst forth.

In discussing this verse, the Zohar teaches that in the Jewish year 5600 (1830 CE), there will begin a bursting forth of great secular wisdom in the world. Many people are amazed by the explosion of expanding knowledge, particularly of science, in recent years. This increased knowledge is what the Zohar predicted to us 1,800 years ago.

Also very interesting is the relatively young age of these 'discoverers'. In previous generations it took most of a lifetime of study to become a scientist, whereas today, because fields of study have been divided into smaller specialized realms, and access to information has been easily made available for learning and sharing, then great strides can be accomplished in a much shorter time. This also correlates with the Zohar's prediction of the opening of knowledge-even young people will learn and understand this wisdom.

The Zohar concludes its discussion saying that the purpose of these great revelations will be for the world to recognize that it is under the Kingship of G-d. Not only will G-d be "One", but we will see the world as one too!

Contrary to traditional theories, an underlying unity in the universe will be revealed. It was once postulated that the world is composed of infinite but independent components. Now, the opposite is being proven. More recent discoveries indicate that these components are not at all independent of each other, but the one underlying element common to all has not yet been discovered.

From this we can learn what is the mission of our current era. Our generation is privileged to previously unavailable opportunities, but, unfortunately, because of our failings and our enormous grief, we are not taking advantage of them.

What is happening globally on a macro scale, is likewise happening on a micro scale with individuals. As a result of this, there is now a strong 'return to your roots' cultural phenomenon. Many individuals thirst to return to their religious roots, but do not know where to search or even where their soul is. What vehicle or mechanism will remove the concealment? Confused, they wander, shouting, because they are hungry and thirsty. The well of G-d, spiritual knowledge, is not always easily found. These people wait for someone who will come forward to teach them, whenever and wherever.

One thing that has certainly been accomplished is the crushing of our 'fathers' idols' of the previous generation. But this has left a greater confusion, and people's souls call out like a child. What are many leaders doing about this? Unfortunately, they are concerned with insignificant details-finding a speaker for a wedding party; that their facility is up to par; to read up on all the current literature and events so as to comment on it to one's congregants.

What should a leader be doing? He should be struggling that his congregation lives up to its holy potential. He should "leave what Kennedy will do with Khrushchev" to others.

Fulfilling one's spiritual mission is the ultimate purpose of the soul's life in this dimension, and for which he was placed in a position of leadership. 'To the hungry he should give bread and the thirsty he should give water'. Torah teaches "bread" is G-dly service, and "water" is Torah. (From the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Purim1963.)

In later years, the Rebbe broadened this message to include all Jewish people, not just community leaders. He said that even if you only know the Hebrew letter 'Alef', it is your mission to teach this knowledge to others. What better resolution can you find than to begin the new year by helping spread Jewish knowledge to more Jewish people?

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

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