(Genesis 6:9-11:32)

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

  1. [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?
  1. [9:6] “Whichever man spills the blood of another man…because He made man in the image of God”. The Torah gives us a reason that murder is forbidden. Why do we need a reason here? Isn’t it understood intuitively by everyone that murder is forbidden?
  1. 3. [9:26] “God will enlarge Yefet, and he will live in the tents of Shem…” Our tradition understands Yefet to mean Greece and an appreciation of beauty. What role should appreciation of beauty have in a Torah world-view?
  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. [Haftara 54:10] “…my kindness will not depart from you, and my covenant of peace will not be removed…” In what way are kindness and peace similar? What other values are similar to kindness and peace?

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 to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer