Noach
 


Parshat Noach          1 Mar-Cheshvan 5765              October 16, 2004              Vol.14 No.5


In This Issue:

Shlomo Tanenbaum

Avi Levinson

Halacha of the Week

Rabbi Chaim Jachter

 

 

Where's the Grub?
by Shlomo Tanenbaum

In Parshat Noach, the Torah says, "Ve'ata Kach Lecha Mikol Maachal Asher Ye'acheil Ve'asafta Eilecha Vehaya Lecha Velahem Liochla," "And you, take for yourself from all food that will be eaten and gather it to yourself, and it will be for you and for [the animals] to eat" (6:21). The Kli Yakar on this Pasuk wonders why the Torah uses the terminology "Lecha," "for yourself." What does this seemingly extra word add? He answers that this word implies that the food had to come exclusively from Noach's own belongings. Just as the word Lecha regarding the Arbaah Minim is interpreted to mean that that the Minim must be "yours," i.e. not stolen or borrowed from others' property, so too Hashem required that the food on the Teivah be Noach's own. This was to prevent Noach from reasoning that it should be permitted to take from others' belongings, as the rest of the world would soon die anyway, and all their money and belongings would then be washed away and ownerless. Therefore, Hakodesh Baruch Hu had to tell Noach to take only of his own property, and not of others'.
The Kli Yakar also asks how it was possible for the Teivah to hold enough food for a full year; how could Noach supply enough for every single living creature (sometimes even sevenfold) and for his own family for such a length of time? This question is strengthened by the Kli Yakar's explanation of "Lecha" - if all the food had to come out of Noach's own pocket, it is even less likely that he could have provided such a vast quantity of food! The Kli Yakar answers that even though naturally the food supply should not have been enough for Noach and the animals, Hakadosh Baruch Hu caused a miracle to accommodate their needs. He sent a Berachah when Noach fulfilled "Ve'asafta Eilecha," "gather it to yourself," so that the food Noach collected would be enough that "Vehaya Lecha Velahem Leochla," "it will be [enough] for you and for them to eat." This same idea holds true for the Teivah, as well. The commandment that Hashem gave to Noach was "Assei Lecha Teivah," "make for yourself an ark." Hashem was telling Noach even though the Teivah would not be big enough for all the animals, He would perform a miracle so that all the animals would have sufficient room.
The Vilna Gaon also deals with this problem, but he simultaneously deals with another question. Like the Kli Yakar, he wonders how Noach could have had enough food for all of the animals; it would certainly be impossible to store that much in the Ark! In addition, he observes that the words "Asher Ye'acheil," "that will be eaten," are superfluous. The Gaon explains both problems based on a Gemara in Masechet Chullin that discusses a similar phraseology in Vayikra. The Pasuk there (11:34), discussing food that becomes Tamei, says, "Mikol Haochel Asher Ye'acheil," "from all food that will be eaten," which the Gemara understands as referring to food that can be eaten in one gulp. The Gemara in Yoma states that the maximum amount the throat can gulp down in one swallow is the size of an egg, a Kebeitzah. "Ye'achel," "[that which] will (or can) be eaten," implies this quantity of the largest possible single gulp. This is also the meaning of the Pasuk here when it says, "Asher Ye'acheil" - an egg's volume for everyone. However, "Vehaya Lecha Velahem Leochla" - even though it will only be the minimal amount, it will be enough for everyone to eat to satisfaction. Surely, if Hashem provided for Noach and the animals, He can and will provide enough for each member of His chosen nation, if we merit such a blessing.

It's Not That Important
by Avi Levinson

In Bereshit 6:11, the Torah records the great sin of the Dor Hamabul. It says, "Vatishacheitt Haaretz Lifnei Haelokim, Vatimalei Haaretz Chamas," "The land became corrupt before Hashem, and the land became filled with robbery." The Talmud Yerushalmi (Bava Metzia 4:12) quotes a Beraita which asks, "What did they steal?" The Beraita answers that they stole less than a Shaveh Perutah, the minimum amount that is given Halachic significance, so no one could take them to court and prosecute them for robbery. The question that this brings up is obvious: what was so wrong with what they did, if they were stealing in such petty amounts? An answer lies in the Gemara in Eiruvin 62, which says that a Nochri is Chayav even for stealing less then a Shaveh Perutah, even though a Jew is not. Why is a Nochri Chayav when a Jew is Patur? Rashi answers that a Jew will forgive someone for stealing such a small amount, whereas we assume that a Nochri will not. It is part of a Jew's character to be forgiving, especially regarding small matters.
This point is amplified by Taanit 25a, where the Gemara records the story of a particular drought in Eretz Yisrael. Rabi Eliezer prayed to Hashem on behalf of the people, but to no avail. Rabi Akiva then stepped up to pray, but unlike Rabi Eliezer, he was answered. Naturally, people started saying that Rabi Akiva was greater than Rabi Eliezer. In response, Hashem sent Bat Kol that announced, "Lo Shezeh Gadol Mizeh, Elah Shezeh Maavir Al Midotav, Vezeh Eino Maavir Al Midotav," "It is not because one is greater than the other, but rather because this one (Rabi Akiva) was able to 'look away,' whereas this one (Rabi Eliezer) could not 'look away.'" This Gemara means that Rabi Akiva was able to forgive minor inconveniences that other people caused to him, while Rabi Eliezer was not. Clearly, we must learn from Rabi Akiva. It is not so horrible, for example, if someone accidentally bumps into you; you do not have to make a big deal over it. Being forgiving is one thing that distinguishes a Jew from a Nochri. At least regarding our interactions with other people, the Gemarot in Eiruvin and Taanit both clearly support the well-known saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff!"


Halacha of the Week
The Chayei Adam (67:3) writes that one should respect his parents in thought as well as action. He asserts that one should regard his parents as prominent individuals that are worthy of great honor. This, in turn, will facilitate one giving proper Kavod to one's parents, since one's thoughts profoundly impact one's actions. Indeed, one might interpret Cham's sin against his father (Bereshit 9:22) as first denigrating his father in thought, then in words and, according to Chazal, then in deed. Although harboring positive thoughts about one's parents might be inaccurate, it seems to be a healthy illusion in many cases. In fact, a cousin described to me her doctoral thesis in psychology, which explores the positive therapeutic impact of partial denial in certain circumstances. Indeed, one could possibly interpret the actions of Shem and Yafet (Bereshit 9:23) as "covering up" their father's sin both in deed and in thought in order to preserve their positive image of their father.

 

 

Staff at time of publication:

Editors-in-Chief:  Ely Winkler, Willie Roth
Executive Editor: Jerry M. Karp
Publication Editors: Jesse Dunietz, Ariel Caplan
Publishing Manager: Andy Feuerstein-Rudin
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Staff: Duvie Barth, Mitch Levine, Josh Markovic, Moshe Schaffer, Chaim Strauss
Faculty Advisor: Rabbi Chaim Jachter

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