The Portion of Noah

Oct 11, 2015

Photo credit: Yehoshua Halevi

אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת נֹחַ נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה בְּדֹרֹתָיו אֶת־הָאֱלֹהִים הִתְהַלֶּךְ־נֹחַ׃

This is the line of Noach.—Noach was a righteous man; he was blameless in his age; Noach walked with Hashem.—

Genesis 6:9

וַיִּהְיוּ יְמֵי־תֶרַח חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים וּמָאתַיִם שָׁנָה וַיָּמָת תֶּרַח בְּחָרָן׃

The days of Terach came to 205 years; and Terach died in Haran.

Genesis 11:32

Our portion, which is the fifth longest single reading of the Torah, relates the story of Noah and his descendants. God expresses His disappointment in humankind, but singles out Noah and his family for salvation from the destruction He is planning to send. He commands Noah to build an ark and carry with him two of each animal to repopulate the Earth after the waters recede.

 

Noah complies, and he and his family spend a year aboard this floating zoo. When it is finally safe to walk the land again, Noah offers sacrifices of gratitude and God sends a rainbow to promise He will never flood the entire world again.

 

Noah also plants a vineyard and becomes intoxicated. One son ridicules his father, while the other two protect him. Noah curses the one and blesses the others.

 

Also in this week’s portion is the story of the Tower of Babel, when the people of the Earth decided to build a tower to heaven. God mixes up the languages they speak and disperses them across the face of the Earth.

 

Additionally, we are treated to two genealogical lists of Noah’s descendants.

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