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Friday, November 1

The Weekly Shtikle - Noach

The world was created with Adam HaRishon as its first inhabitant. Thus, the generic Hebrew term for a person is ben Adam, son of Adam. However, the world was destroyed and civilization began anew with Noach taking on the roll as the father of all humankind. Nevertheless, in the Talmud and other halachic sources, the term ben Noach is used specifically to refer to gentiles. We do not include Noach as one of the forefathers. Rather, Avraham is considered the father of Judaism. Considering that Noach is lauded as a righteous man in his generation, why is it that he is dismissed as a forefather and is not a vital player in our ancestry?

R' Ephraim Eisenberg, z"l, of Ner Yisroel, offers a possible approach. Rashi writes (7:7) that although Noach fulfilled HaShem's every command, he did not enter the ark until the rain actually began to fall. Although there are many interpretations offered to shed a more positive light on this comment, Rashi undeniably describes Noach as miketanei amanah, from the lesser believers. It is this trait that disqualifies Noach as a forefather. There are two types of believers. There are those who obey HaShem's word for no reason other than to fulfill their Divine command. Others, although faithful, are swayed by other forces and influences. Noach was not faithless. However, with this display, he placed himself firmly in the second category. He did not enter the ark because he was told to but because it began to rain.

In next week's parsha, Avraham Avinu exhibits the exact opposite trait. He is asked by HaShem to leave his place of birth and journey to a foreign land. Rashi comments that Avraham was told that the move would be to his benefit. Nevertheless, the pasuk recounts, (12:4) "And Avram went as HaShem told him." Avraham did not pick up and leave because of the personal gain that was promised to him, but merely because he was told to do so by HaShem. This is the virtue to which we aspire in the service of HaShem and that is why Avraham is a forefather and not Noach.


On the lighter side (since, as illustrated below, the teiva was quite heavy): A good friend of mine and noted author, Mordechai Bodek, wrote a homourous book called Extracts From Noah's Diary. Check it out!

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Al Pi Cheshbon: The Weight of the Teiva and The Constant Rate of Recession 
AstroTorah: Sailing the Friendly Skies by R' Ari Storch

AstroTorah: The World's First Boat?

Dikdukian: Noach's Three Sons

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