Hamaayan / The Torah Spring
Edited by Shlomo Katz
Volume XV, No. 2
6 Marcheshvan 5761
November 4, 2000
Orach Chaim 329:7-9
Daf Yomi (Bavli): Nazir 18
Daf Yomi (Yerushalmi): Bava Metzia 20
The midrash records that when the animals came to Noach's ark
two-by-two, Falsehood also approached the door and asked to be
admitted. Noach said, "You may not enter unless you have a
Upon leaving the ark, Falsehood met Destruction, who asked,
"From where are you coming?"
"From Noach," said Falsehood, "and he will not let me enter the
ark unless I have a mate."
"I will be your mate," said Destruction, "but only on the
condition that whatever you sow, I will reap." And so it was!
>From that day forward, whatever Falsehood sows, Destruction
One message of this midrash is obvious -- nothing good comes
from falsehood. But there is also a deeper message, says R'
Moshe Schwab z"l (mashgiach of the Gateshead Yeshiva; died 1979).
Everything that Hashem created has a purpose. In particular,
anything that survived the flood necessarily serves a
constructive purpose or Hashem would not have "bothered" saving
it. What purpose does the marriage of Falsehood and Destruction
In a sense, all that our eyes can perceive is a lie, for it
appears to us that the material aspects of the world are its
primary parts. Man's role in the world is to peel away the
layers of materialism that shield the spiritual aspects of
creation and to discover what the "real world" consists of.
Fighting us is the yetzer hara, whose role is to convince us that
the material world is the "real world."
Noach did not want Falsehood to be saved in the ark. However,
when Falsehood joined forces with Destruction, Falsehood became a
constructive force, for thereafter Falsehood would play a role in
destroying and tearing down the facade that conceals the truths
that man is tasked with discovering. (Ma'archei Lev Vol. IV,
"Noach was a righteous man, perfect in his generations . .
"For it is you [Noach] that I have seen to be righteous
before me in this generation." (7:1)
There are several differences between the description of Noach
in these two verses. Rashi comments about one of them -- the
verse which speaks of Noach in the third person refers to him as
a "perfect tzaddik" while the other verse, in which Hashem speaks
to Noach, refers to him only as a tzaddik. From here we learn,
writes Rashi, that one should not state a person's full praise to
Another difference between the two verses is that the first
verse uses the word "generations" (plural) while the second verse
says only "generation" (singular). Why?
Finally, Rashi comments on the first verse that some Sages
interpret this verse to indicate that Noach was not as great as
he could have been. In what way was he lacking?
R' Shaul Yedidyah Elazar Taub z"l (the "Modzhitzer Rebbe"; died
1947) answers the above questions as follows:
There are two types of tzaddikim, one of whom is concerned only
with his own improvement and the other of whom attempts to
influence his surroundings. The former may be compared to sugar
cane and the latter to powdered sugar, says R' Taub. Both
tzaddikim are sweet in Hashem's eyes; however, powdered sugar
dissolves and sweetens its surroundings while cane sugar does
The Zohar states that Noach was the former type of tzaddik,
i.e., he made no attempt to influence his generation and avert
the flood. In this respect he was lacking and was not the
tzaddik he could have been. After the flood, however, he changed
and realized that he was responsible for the spiritual welfare of
Thus, when Hashem spoke to Noach before the flood (in the
second verse quoted above), Noach was not the type of tzaddik who
could be called "perfect." However, if one looks at Noach's
generations (plural), i.e., at his life as a whole, he did become
the type of tzaddik who is "perfect."
"Now the earth had become corrupt before G-d, and the earth
had become filled with robbery." (6:11)
If man is corrupt before G-d -- if he does not fear G-d and act
properly vis-a-vis his obligations to G-d -- it is inevitable
that the earth will become filled with robbery and other
(Ma'ayanah Shel Torah)
"Your fear and your dread shall be upon every beast of the
earth. . ." (9:2)
Why is the verse phrased thus, rather than, "The fear of you
and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth . .
."? R' Shlomo Rabinowitz of Radomsk z"l (1800-1866) explains
that the verse is teaching an extra lesson. "Only to the extent
of your own fear of and dread of Hashem will the other creatures
of the world fear you."
[The following dvar Torah can be better appreciated with the
Hebrew text in front of the reader.]
"Mitzrayim fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehavim, Naphtuchim,
Patrusim and Casluchim -- from where the Philistines came
forth -- and Caphtorim." (10:13-14)
R' Yaakov Abuchatzeira z"l (see page 4) found in these verses
the following lesson regarding the evils of lashon hara:
The gematria of "Mitzrayim" (380) equals the gematria of the
word "lashon" / "tongue." The names of Mitzrayim's children
indicate the consequences of an evil tongue. [Ed. note: For the
foregoing gematria to be correct, lashon must be spelled "chaser"
/ "lacking," i.e., without the letter "vav." Perhaps the fact
that the word is chaser supports R' Abuchatzeira's interpretation
that an evil tongue is alluded to.]
Mitzrayim's first child was "Ludim," related to the word
"v'lad" / "newborn." The name of the second child was "Anamim,"
related to the word "na'im" / "pleasant." Even though every
person who is born is inherently pleasant and beloved, lashon
hara brings about "Lehavim" / flames of hatred. This, in turn,
leads to "Naphtuchim," containing the word "petach" / "opening,"
because lashon hara opens the strong bonds which bind friends
The names of the next two sons, "Patrusim" and "Casluchim,"
allude to the fact that even a recipient of kindness and charity
can be made to turn against his benefactor through lashon hara.
Specifically, "Patrusim" alludes to "pat" / "bread" and the first
syllable of "Casluchim" alludes to "kos" / "drink" --together a
reference to charity. Nevertheless, the second syllable of
"Casluchim" alludes to war. [A "locheim" is a warrior.]
Finally, one who speaks lashon hara will eventually deny G-d
Himself. This is alluded to in the name "Caphtorim," which is
made up of the words "kofer" / "one who denies" and "Torah,"
i.e., one who speaks lashon hara may deny the truth of the Torah.
R' Yaakov Abuchatzeira z"l
R' Yaakov Abuchatzeira was born in Morocco in 5566/ 1806 and
served in the rabbinate there until shortly before his death. It
was written about him:
The aforementioned rabbi was a kabbalist renowned for his
piety and accustomed to performing miracles. It is said
that Eliyahu Hanavi appeared to him. The aforementioned
rabbi loved solitude and [for a time] did not leave the
bet midrash / study hall all week long, except on Friday
night. He was a master of charity, and his home was wide
open to guests.
R' Abuchatzeira's son wrote of his father's schedule:
He knew the six orders of the Mishnah by heart, and every
night, he studied 18 chapters in holiness and purity.
After that, he would study Shulchan Aruch and other
poskim / halachic authorities, and he would review the
sources in the gemara from which their rulings derived.
Near midnight he would nap, then he would arise for
tikkun chatzot / the midnight prayers that the
exceptionally pious recite in mourning for the Temple.
Afterward he would study kabbalistic works until
morning, when he would hurry to don tallit and tefilin
and be one of the first ten to arrive for minyan. After
he prayed in the manner of the pious he would sit and
study Torah, eating only the minimal amount necessary.
After that, he would engage in acts of charity until
In the winter of 5640 / 1879, R' Abucharzeira set out for Eretz
Yisrael. However, upon arriving in a town near Alexandria,
Egypt, he told those with him that it had been revealed to him in
a dream that he would pass away after the next Shabbat. He also
told them that he accepted Heaven's decree. He passed away on
Sunday, 20 Tevet 5640 / January 4, 1880.
R' Abuchatzeira's many distinguished descendants included his
great-grandson R' Yisrael Abuchatzeira, known as "Baba Sali."
His written works include Torah commentaries and ethical works
(most of a kabbalistic nature) and responsa on the laws of torts
and financial matters entitled Yoru Mishpatecha Le'Yaakov.
(Source: Gedolei Ha'dorot p. 723)
Mrs. Esther Liberman and family
in memory of husband and father
Yaakov Azriel ben Aharon David a"h
The Rozen and Donowitz families
in memory of grandfather and great-grandfather
Irving Peskowitz a"h
Copyright © 2000 by Shlomo Katz
and Project Genesis, Inc.
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