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Friday, October 20

The Weekly Shtikle - Noach

There has been a question bothering me this whole week. It will seem somewhat simplistic at first – so much so that even a preschooler might know the answer. Why did Noach send the birds out as scouts? (Indeed, the purpose of the initial sending of the raven is a matter of dispute.) Now, it should be rather obvious. After all, it states clearly in the pasuk (8:8) that this was done to see if the waters had decreased. But was the actual purpose of knowing that? In the pesukim that follow it is clear that Noach did not seem to follow up once he confirmed that the waters had in fact decreased when the dove did not return. He eventually observed for himself that the land was dry. And then he exited when instructed by HaShem. So, what was the ultimate intention behind Noach's actions?

I did finally find a comment by Panei'ach Raza which offers some insight on this. He is actually addressing a separate difficulty – why did Noach simply sit back and trust that HaShem would take him out in the right time? Why did he feel he needed his own intervention to be aware of the current conditions? He answers (quoting another source) that Noach did not know when his time inside the ark was going to end. He only had a finite amount of food on board. He needed to know if he was getting close to being able to leave in order to gauge whether he needed to ration the food.

I feel this topic is still in need of further discussion, especially since Panei'ach Raza himself is not happy with this approach. I welcome any suggestions.


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

Dikdukian: Take it Easy

Dikdukian: Geshem vs. Gashem

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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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