(Haftara: Isaiah 54:1-55:5)
- [6:11] “And the land was corrupted in front of God…” The Ibn Ezra (Spain, 1089-1167), explains that “in front of God” means “in public”, or it could mean only “in front of God”—in private. Which is worse—to be corrupt in front of everyone, or to have a good public image, but be corrupt in private?
- [6:12] “…because all flesh corrupted its way…” Rashi explains that this means that all the living things had sexual relations with other species. Why is that so bad that it deserves the flood?
- [8:21] “And God smelled the sweet fragrance…” We know that God is not at all physical, and that the Torah gives God physical attributes because “the Torah speaks in the language of people”. On the one hand, giving human emotions and actions to God makes God easier to understand, but on the other hand, this is misleading, and could make some people think that God is almost physical. How can one justify giving human emotions and human actions to God?
- [11:4] “And they said, ‘Let us build ourselves a city and a tower and its top will be in the heavens, and let us make ourselves a name…” What was the sin of these people?
- [11:30] “And Sarai was childless…” Sarah, Rivkah and Rachel were all childless for long periods of time. How did this affect them and how does it affect us?
[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 to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer