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Torah 365, Bereishit Chapter 5
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Bereishit, Chapter 

Dear Friends,

A Cappella Shabbat was such a special weekend; we all learned so much from the classes and workshops and were inspired by the Y-Stud's singing and prayers.

Chapter 6 introduces the story of Noah.  It describes the immorality common in the years leading up to Noah, and that Noah was the only righteous person in his generation.  As a response, God planned to destroy the world and charged Noah with repopulating the world.  Please join us for Kiddush Conversations this Shabbat, at which I will discuss "The Flood: A Story of Noach or the Echo of Gilgamesh?"

Happy Learning!
Roy Feldman

בראשית ו
וַיְהִי כִּי-הֵחֵל הָאָדָם, לָרֹב עַל-פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה; וּבָנוֹת, יֻלְּדוּ לָהֶם.  וַיִּרְאוּ בְנֵי-הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת-בְּנוֹת הָאָדָם, כִּי טֹבֹת הֵנָּה; וַיִּקְחוּ לָהֶם נָשִׁים, מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר בָּחָרוּ.  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, לֹא-יָדוֹן רוּחִי בָאָדָם לְעֹלָם, בְּשַׁגַּם, הוּא בָשָׂר; וְהָיוּ יָמָיו, מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה.  הַנְּפִלִים הָיוּ בָאָרֶץ, בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם, וְגַם אַחֲרֵי-כֵן אֲשֶׁר יָבֹאוּ בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים אֶל-בְּנוֹת הָאָדָם, וְיָלְדוּ לָהֶם:  הֵמָּה הַגִּבֹּרִים אֲשֶׁר מֵעוֹלָם, אַנְשֵׁי הַשֵּׁם.
וַיַּרְא יְהוָה, כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ, וְכָל-יֵצֶר מַחְשְׁבֹת לִבּוֹ, רַק רַע כָּל-הַיּוֹם.  וַיִּנָּחֶם יְהוָה, כִּי-עָשָׂה אֶת-הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ; וַיִּתְעַצֵּב, אֶל-לִבּוֹ.  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶמְחֶה אֶת-הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר-בָּרָאתִי מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה, מֵאָדָם עַד-בְּהֵמָה, עַד-רֶמֶשׂ וְעַד-עוֹף הַשָּׁמָיִם:  כִּי נִחַמְתִּי, כִּי עֲשִׂיתִם.  וְנֹחַ, מָצָא חֵן בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה.  
אֵלֶּה, תּוֹלְדֹת נֹחַ--נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה, בְּדֹרֹתָיו:  אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים, הִתְהַלֶּךְ-נֹחַ.  וַיּוֹלֶד נֹחַ, שְׁלֹשָׁה בָנִים--אֶת-שֵׁם, אֶת-חָם וְאֶת-יָפֶת.  וַתִּשָּׁחֵת הָאָרֶץ, לִפְנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים; וַתִּמָּלֵא הָאָרֶץ, חָמָס.  וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, וְהִנֵּה נִשְׁחָתָה:  כִּי-הִשְׁחִית כָּל-בָּשָׂר אֶת-דַּרְכּוֹ, עַל-הָאָרֶץ.  וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים לְנֹחַ, קֵץ כָּל-בָּשָׂר בָּא לְפָנַי--כִּי-מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ חָמָס, מִפְּנֵיהֶם; וְהִנְנִי מַשְׁחִיתָם, אֶת-הָאָרֶץ.  עֲשֵׂה לְךָ תֵּבַת עֲצֵי-גֹפֶר, קִנִּים תַּעֲשֶׂה אֶת-הַתֵּבָה; וְכָפַרְתָּ אֹתָהּ מִבַּיִת וּמִחוּץ, בַּכֹּפֶר.  וְזֶה, אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתָהּ:  שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת אַמָּה, אֹרֶךְ הַתֵּבָה, חֲמִשִּׁים אַמָּה רָחְבָּהּ, וּשְׁלֹשִׁים אַמָּה קוֹמָתָהּ.  צֹהַר תַּעֲשֶׂה לַתֵּבָה, וְאֶל-אַמָּה תְּכַלֶּנָּה מִלְמַעְלָה, וּפֶתַח הַתֵּבָה, בְּצִדָּהּ תָּשִׂים; תַּחְתִּיִּם שְׁנִיִּם וּשְׁלִשִׁים, תַּעֲשֶׂהָ.  וַאֲנִי, הִנְנִי מֵבִיא אֶת-הַמַּבּוּל מַיִם עַל-הָאָרֶץ, לְשַׁחֵת כָּל-בָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר-בּוֹ רוּחַ חַיִּים, מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם:  כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-בָּאָרֶץ, יִגְוָע.  וַהֲקִמֹתִי אֶת-בְּרִיתִי, אִתָּךְ; וּבָאתָ, אֶל-הַתֵּבָה--אַתָּה, וּבָנֶיךָ וְאִשְׁתְּךָ וּנְשֵׁי-בָנֶיךָ אִתָּךְ.  וּמִכָּל-הָחַי מִכָּל-בָּשָׂר שְׁנַיִם מִכֹּל, תָּבִיא אֶל-הַתֵּבָה--לְהַחֲיֹת אִתָּךְ:  זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, יִהְיוּ.  מֵהָעוֹף לְמִינֵהוּ, וּמִן-הַבְּהֵמָה לְמִינָהּ, מִכֹּל רֶמֶשׂ הָאֲדָמָה, לְמִינֵהוּ--שְׁנַיִם מִכֹּל יָבֹאוּ אֵלֶיךָ, לְהַחֲיוֹת.  וְאַתָּה קַח-לְךָ, מִכָּל-מַאֲכָל אֲשֶׁר יֵאָכֵל, וְאָסַפְתָּ, אֵלֶיךָ; וְהָיָה לְךָ וְלָהֶם, לְאָכְלָה.  וַיַּעַשׂ, נֹחַ:  כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה אֹתוֹ, אֱלֹהִים--כֵּן עָשָׂה.
 
Genesis 6
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives, whomsoever they chose. And the LORD said: 'My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for that he also is flesh; therefore shall his days be a hundred and twenty years.' The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.
And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the LORD said: 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and creeping thing, and fowl of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.' But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
These are the generations of Noah. Noah was in his generations a man righteous and whole-hearted; Noah walked with God. And Noah begot three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah: 'The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; with rooms shalt thou make the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is how thou shalt make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A light shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; every thing that is in the earth shall perish. But I will establish My covenant with thee; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of the fowl after their kind, and of the cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.' Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
Questions and Links
  • Who deserved to be destroyed, and why?  Why must the animals have been destroyed along with the humans?
  • Why was Noah selected?
  • Did Noah only really have to take two of each species?  What about food for all the animals and people?
  • Where do the names Noah and Shem come from (hint: see earlier chapters)?
  • Higher level question: Why does God declare his plan to destroy the world twice, once in verses 5-8 and then again in 11-13?  What are the differences between God's statements?
  • Rabbi Sacks: Individual and Collective Responsibility
  • Professor Lawrence Schiffman on the Bible and archaeology 
  • Elie Wiesel on Noah
In The Entry of the Animals into Noah's Ark painted in 1613, Flemish artist Jan Brueghel the Elder portrays the various species of animals on land and in the sky.  They are "fighting, playing, climbing, flying, and swimming . . . [and they] are shepherded by Noah toward the ark in the far distance."  The "brighter skies ... [symbolize the] promise of a future."  This painting belongs to the permanent collection of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, but can be seen until December 11 at the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego as a part of their exhibition entitled, "Blessed Beasts and Curious Creatures."
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