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Friday, October 28

The Weekly Shtikle - Noach

On Rosh HaShanah, as part of the mussaf liturgy, we recall the story of the great deluge as the first textual reference for the section detailing zichronos, remembrances. While the rest of the world was worthy of destruction, HaShem remembered, as it were, Noach and the animals and saved them. Many commentaries are quick to point out that the concept of remembering, as we know it, involves something having previously been forgotten. This certainly cannot be the understanding of Divine remembrance. Rather, the term is merely an anthropomorphism, speaking in a language that is familiar to the ear. Shaarei Aharon exposes a fascinating nuance in Targum Onkelos from the sefer Passhegen that illustrates this point. Any time Divine zechirah is mentioned, although the Torah text uses past or present tense, the targum is always dachir which is a present tense form of the word, as HaShem's "recollection" is ever-present. Consider our parsha (8:1), "vayizkor" (past) and (Vayikra 26:42) "ezkor" (future) as examples. Conversely, human remembering will take on its proper tense in Onkelos, such as when Yosef recalled his dreams (42:9), "vayizkor" rendered by accurate versions of Onkelos as ve'idkar

There is another intriguing to this pasuk recounting HaShem's remembering of Noach. I can't speak for everyone but I would generally associate the remembering of Noach with his being saved from the initial destruction of the world. However, this pasuk is actually related to the calming of the waters, 150 days after the beginning of the flood. Why is the place to recount the remembering of Noach?

The Midrash (33:3) explains that the remembrance of Noach and the animals refers to Noach's caring for the animals in the teiva. Additionally, Radak notes that Noach and the animals had already suffered enough through the trials and tribulations of the first 150 days and so the process was initiated to reduce the waters and ultimately let them out to roam the world again. It seems that although Noach merited to be saved from the mabul, he had one test left to pass. He needed the merit of taking care of the animals as well and only then was his salvation complete.




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 humourous 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?

AstroTorah: Interesting Calendrical Facts About the Mabul

Dikdukian: Noach's Three Sons

Dikdukian: Different Ways to Wake Up

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Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:


Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,

The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on



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