Where’s the Grub? by Shlomo Tanenbaum

(2004/5765) 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, because today or
tomorrow, the rest of the world would die anyway, and all their
money and belongings would then be washed away and
ownerless. Therefore, Hakodesh Baruch Hu had to tell
Noach 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, Hakodesh Baruch
Hu would create a miracle to accommodate their needs. He
would send a Beracha 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
simultaneously deals with another question. Like the Kli
Yakar, he also 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
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 The Image Of Hashem? by Shlomo Tanenbaum