Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32 )
GOOD MORNING! This week's Torah portion is about Noah who built a life raft for humanity and the world. My father recently told me an apocryphal story about another life raft containing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump -- which was sinking. My father asks, "You know who was saved? America!"
When the Almighty created the world, He had a plan for the creation of the Jewish people and their acceptance to fulfill all of the commandments of the Torah -- to be a light unto the nations. The Jewish people were both chosen and chose to accept this role.
What about the rest of humanity? The plan set forth 7 commandments called the 7 Noahide Commandments, also known as the 7 Universal Commandments as the pathway for all of humanity to live harmoniously and in peace and to reach their spiritual potential having a close relationship with the Almighty.
The Talmud teaches that the laws were actually given to Adam and Chava (Eve) the first day (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Idolatry, chapter 9, law 1). They were reaffirmed after the flood to Noah ("As for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your seed after you" -- Genesis 9:8) and were an intrinsic part of the Divine Revelation on Mt. Sinai. The reason they are called the 7 Laws of the Children of Noah or 7 Noahide Commandments --- because after the flood EVERYONE is a descendant of Noah.
Jewish history is filled with other nations telling us to convert to their religion and all will be well ... however, there was usually a caveat "or else" that followed the "offer" to convert us. The Jewish people, however, always maintained that you don't have to be Jewish to have a portion in the World to Come.
If a non-Jew recognizes that there is a God Who commands all non-Jews to keep the 7 Noahide Commandments (which are categories for additional commandments) ... and he observes the commandments, he is guaranteed a place in the World to Come, Heaven. What are the 7 Noahide Commandments?
- Do not murder. (Human life is sacred; it can only be taken with legal sanction)
- Do not steal. (Respect the rights and property of others)
- Do not worship false gods. (Only the Almighty is the Creator, Sustainer, Supervisor and can answer prayers)
- Do not be sexually immoral. (wife of another man, male homosexuality, incest and bestial relations are out)
- Do not eat the limb of an animal before it is killed. (Do not be cruel to animals)
- Do not curse God. (Speech is unique to humans, using it to express ingratitude is wrong. Gossip, obscenity and lies are also forbidden under this commandment)
- Set up courts and bring offenders to justice. (Society cannot exist in anarchy; due process is required).
There is a growing movement of Noahides. One can learn more via the internet. For a list of sites: http://www.rb.org.il/links.htm .Two good books: The Path of the Righteous Gentile: Introduction to the 7 Laws of the Children of Noah by Chaim Clorfene and Rabbi Yakov Rogalsky and The Seven Colors of the Rainbow: Torah Ethics for Non-Jews by Rabbi Yirmeyahu Bindman (there is an allusion that the 7 colors of the rainbow refer to 7 Noahide Laws in verse "And God said, '... My bow I am placing in the cloud and it shall be for a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth'" [Gen. 9:12,13]. Both available at JudaicaEnterprises.com or 877-758-3242 or your local Jewish bookstore).
If the United States has hopes of "making America great again" and "standing together," the 7 Noahide Commandments are definitely the best campaign platform -- and the best standard to judge those who aspire to lead!
Noah, Genesis 6:9 - 11:32
The story of one righteous man in an evil generation. The Almighty commands Noah to build the ark on a hill far from the water. He built it over a period of 120 years. People deride Noah and ask him, "Why are you building a boat on a hill?" Noah explains that there will be a flood if people do not correct their ways. We see from this the patience of the Almighty for people to correct their ways and the genius of arousing people's curiosity so that they will ask a question and, hopefully, hear the answer.
The generation does not do Teshuva, returning from their evil ways, and God brings a flood for 40 days. They leave the ark 365 days later when the earth has once again become habitable. The Almighty makes a covenant and makes the rainbow the sign of the covenant that He will never destroy all of life again by water (hence, James Baldwin's book, The Fire Next Time). When one sees a rainbow it is an omen to do Teshuva -- to recognize the mistakes you are making in life, regret them, correct them/make restitution, and ask for forgiveness from anyone you have wronged as well as from the Almighty.
Noah plants a vineyard, gets drunk and then occurs the mysterious incident in the tent after which Noah curses his grandson Canaan. The Torah portion concludes with the story of the Tower of Babel and then a genealogy from Noah's son, Shem, to Abram (Abraham).
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based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And Noah, man of the earth, profaned himself and planted a vineyard" (Genesis 9:20). Previously the Torah called Noah "a righteous man."
Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz comments that by planting the vineyard first, Noah revealed his essence. He should have planted more essential produce first. His choice of priorities lowered his previous spiritual level.
Whenever you have a number of things to choose from, note what you choose first. This is a powerful tool to gain greater self-awareness. Regardless of your present level, strive to build up such a love for doing good that it will be first on your list of things to do!
(or go to http://www.aish.com/sh/c/)
Guatemala 5:14 - Hong Kong 5:26 - Honolulu 5:35
J'Burg 6:09 - London 4:09 - Los Angeles 5:39
Melbourne 7:40 - Mexico City 6:43 - Miami 6:19
New York 5:30 - Singapore 6:32 - Toronto 5:46
The smallest good deed is
better than the grandest intention