(Genesis 6:9-11:32)

Haftara: (Yishayahu 54:1-55:5)

  1. [6:9] “…Noach walked with God.” In our generation, we would praise a religious person by saying that “he kept God’s commandments” or “prayed with concentration”. What is the meaning of “Noach walked with God”?
  1. [7:12] “Rain was on the land for forty days and forty nights.” God destroys people in many ways in the Torah. This often happens instantly and in an unnatural way. In this story, however, the flood occurs as a a result of a long period of rain, and the flood dries up very slowly.  Why does this destruction happen in such a natural, slow way?
  1. [11:6] “…one nation and one language for everyone, and this is what they have started to do…” Our tradition tells us that God wants unity between people.  This story tells us that when there is unity, negative things happen.  How can we ensure that unity will bring only good results?
  1. [Isaiah 54:6] “And all your children shall be taught of the Lord.” In this messianic vision, we are told that God will personally teach everyone. Does that mean that everything will be so clear that there will be no intellectual discussion?
  1. [54:10] “ …my kindness will not depart from you, and my covenant of peace will not be removed…” Are kindness and peace the highest values of the Torah?

Commentary

[6:16] “Make a tzohar (window /brightness) for the tayva (ark/word).

“Tayva” means an ark, but in mishnaic Hebrew it also means a “word”.  A word of Torah, or of prayer, properly said, can save the world from a devastating flood of materialism and physicality. This pasuk can be understood to mean “make the word bright”.  Every word of Torah or prayer that comes out of your mouth should be clear and bright.

–R. Yehudah Leib Alter, the Sfat Emet, Poland, 1847-1905.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer