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Posted on October 18, 2023 (5784) By Shlomo Katz | Series: | Level:

Volume 38, No. 2
6 Marcheshvan 5784
October 21, 2023

Sponsored by the Katz family on the first yahrzeit of son and brother, Daniel Aryeh a”h and Mrs. Esther Liberman and family in memory of husband and father Yaakov Azriel ben Aharon David a”h

R’ Gamliel HaKohen Rabinowitz-Rappaport shlita (Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Sha’ar Ha’shamayim in Yerushalayim) writes: The obvious connection between this week’s Parashah and Haftarah is the verse in the latter (Yeshayah 54:9), “For like the waters of Noach shall this be to Me. As I have sworn never again to pass the waters of Noach over the earth, so have I sworn not to be wrathful with you or rebuke you.” On a deeper level, R’ Rabinowitz notes that this week’s Haftarah is also read during the Seven Weeks of Consolation following Tisha B’Av–half of it (Yeshayah 54:1-10) for Parashat Re’eh and half (54:11-55:5) for Ki Tetze. Just as these verses console us after we recall the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash, so they console us after we recall the destruction of the entire world in the Flood.

There is a practical lesson in this, writes R’ Rabinowitz. If a person undergoes a tragedy or some suffering, he must not remain in a state of mourning. He must seek and accept consolation. Another lesson is that after parents or teachers punish a child or student as appropriate, they must offer the student words of consolation and encouragement as well. It is noteworthy, R’ Rabinowitz adds, that Hashem taught the prophet Yeshayah these words of consolation over the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash 110 years or more before that destruction occurred. This teaches us how important it is to Hashem that we console those who have experienced suffering. (Tiv Ha’haftarot)


“Noach was a Tzaddik / righteous man . . .” (6:9)

What is the defining characteristic of a righteous man? R’ Yosef Kahaneman z”l (1886-1969; the Ponovezher Rav) would regularly say: A Tzaddik is good-hearted, as illustrated in our Parashah, where Noach is described as a Tzaddik. What do we know about Noach? That he selflessly cared for thousands of living things. (Quoted in Otzrotaihem Shel Tzaddikim)

R’ Moshe Zuriel z”l (1938-2023; Mashgiach Ruchani of Yeshivat Sha’alvim and a prolific author) writes: The Zohar Chadash comments on Noach’s name, “He was Noach / calm in his thoughts, calm in his words, and calm in his ways. A person who behaves this way is worthy of being called a Tzaddik.”

At the same time, R’ Zuriel notes, the Zohar Chadash does not withhold its criticism of Noach: Come and see the difference between the Tzaddikim of Yisrael and Noach. Noach did not protect his generation and did not pray for his contemporaries as Avraham did. When Hashem told Avraham (Bereishit 18:20), “The outcry of S’dom and Amorah has become great,” immediately (18:23), “Avraham came forward and said, ‘Will You also stamp out the righteous along with the wicked?’” [Until here from the Zohar Chadash.] The fundamental difference between Noach and Avraham, R’ Zuriel writes, was that the former worried only about himself, while the latter worried about everyone–even about wicked people.

What led Avraham to behave this way? R’ Zuriel explains: Through his own intellect, he arrived at the lesson that R’ Yehuda Loewe z”l (Maharal of Prague; died 1609) would later teach us: “One who loves Hashem loves His creations.” If Hashem saw fit to create those creations, who are we to think we know better?!

This does not mean, R’ Zuriel adds, that a Tzaddik accepts the wicked as they are. To the contrary, one who loves another feels compelled to point out his mistakes and help him to improve, not because he feels superior, but because he knows all men share a common destiny. (Otzrot Ha’Torah: Noach #1)


“Make the Tevah / Ark Kinnim / compartments . . .” (6:14)

R’ Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev z”l (1740-1809; early Chassidic Rebbe) writes: The word “Kinnim” means a dwelling place, as in “Kan Tzippor” / a bird’s nest. Besides meaning “Ark,” the word “Tevah” can mean “word.” Thus, this verse is hinting that your dwelling place should be “built” with “Tevot” / words of Torah study and prayer.

Alternatively, let your words cause Hashem to dwell in this world. (Kedushat Levi)


“You shall make a Tzohar for the Ark.” (6:16)

Rashi writes: Some say this was a window. Others say it was a precious stone that gave light to them.

R’ Shlomo Pappenheim z”l (1740-1814; Dayan / rabbinical court judge in Breslau, Germany) explains: The word “Tzohar” comes from the root Tzadi-Reish, which connotes focusing or intensifying. For example, a woman’s very intense labor pains are called “Tzirei Leidah.” The period of intense mourning leading up to Tisha B’Av is called “Bein Ha’meitzarim.” In our verse, the Tzohar was something–either a window or a gem–to focus and intensify the sun’s light. This, too, is why midday is called “Tzaharayim.” (Cheishek Shlomo)


“Noach, the man of the earth, debased himself and planted a vineyard.” (9:20)

Rashi z”l comments: “He debased himself, for he should have occupied himself first with planting something different.”

R’ Asher Kitzis shlita (Yeshivat Bet Meir, Bnei Brak, Israel) observes that Rashi does not understand the Torah to be criticizing Noach for planting grapes. After all, wine is a very necessary commodity. Rather, Rashi understands the Torah to be criticizing Noach for planting grapes for wine first, rather than some other crop.

In all areas of life, R’ Kitzis explains, it matters not only what a person does, but also whether he does it in a logical, orderly way. A person whose clothes, books, etc. are constantly in a state of disarray is a person whose life will be in disarray, writes R’ Kitzis. It is not for nothing that Moshe Rabbeinu’s student and eventual successor, Yehoshua, used to devote his time to neatly arranging the benches in the Bet Ha’midrash / study hall, as recorded in Midrash Bemidbar Rabbah. (Haggadah Shel Pesach Minchah Sheluchah p.52)


“When Terach had lived seventy years, he fathered Avram, Nachor, and Haran.” (11:26)

R’ Yosef Gikatilla z”l (1248-1310; Spain; author of the Kabbalistic work Sha’arei Orah) writes: Terach’s name signifies that he caused G-d’s anger “to boil.” Why was it G-d’s Will that a great Tzaddik such as Avraham be born from such a wicked person? He explains:

G-d did man a favor by giving him free will, for otherwise man could not be rewarded for his good deeds (since they would not really be “his”). Likewise, if man did not have free will, G-d could not have a “Chosen People,” for that would cause the other nations to complain, “Why did you force the Jewish nation to do Your Will, and not us? It’s Your fault that we are distant from You!”

To highlight the impact of man’s free will and the fact that G-d merely chose the nation (the Jewish People) whose ancestor (Avraham) chose Him voluntarily, Avraham was fathered by Terach, someone who was not a positive influence on his son. (Haggadah Shel Pesach Tzofnat Pane’ach)



“Yonah Matz’ah Bo Mano’ach” / “On it (Shabbat), the dove found a resting place.” (From the Shabbat Zemer “Yom Shabbaton”)

R’ Aryeh Leib Gordon z”l (1845-1912; Lithuania and Eretz Yisrael) writes: This refers to the Congregation of Yisrael, which is likened to a dove (see Shabbat 49b), and which rests on Shabbat.

Alternatively, R’ Gordon writes, the Zemer is referring to an incident in this week’s Parashah. After the flood, Noach sent a Yonah / dove to scout for dry land. At first, the Torah tells us (Bereishit 8:9), “The Yonah could not find a Mano’ach / resting place for the sole of its foot, and it returned to him to the Ark, for water was upon the surface of all the earth.” Then, says the Torah (8:10-11), “[Noach] waited again another seven days, and again sent out the Yonah from the Ark. The Yonah came back to him in the evening–and behold! It had plucked an olive leaf with its bill. Then Noach knew that the waters had subsided from upon the earth.”

The day on which the Yonah found a resting place, says the Zemer, was Shabbat. (Siddur Otzar Tefilot: Etz Yosef p.770)

How do we know that that day was Shabbat? R’ Yosef Shaul Nathanson z”l (1808-1875; rabbi of L’vov, Galicia) writes: The author of the Zemer must have had access to a Midrash that is lost to us. Alternatively, the author derived it from the words: “He waited again another seven days”–alluding to the Seventh Day, i.e., Shabbat. (Divrei Shaul)

A student of R’ Yisrael Isserlin z”l (the “Terumat Hadeshen”; Central Europe; 1390-1460) records that his teacher did not sing the Zemer “Yom Shabbaton” every week, but he did sing it on Shabbat Parashat Noach because it was Inyana D’yoma / relevant to that particular day. (Lekket Yosher p.36)