The Portion of Noah

Genesis 6:9-11:32

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.

 

 

Topic 1: The Flood

Last week’s portion reported that God was dismayed with the deterioration of mankind. He opts to wipe out His creation and start again, selecting the righteous Noah as progenitor. He commands Noah to build a three-story boat of gopher wood and fill it with animals -- one male, one female of each, and seven pairs… Read More »

 

 

Topic 2: After the Flood

Following the flood, God addresses Noah and his sons, telling them to be fruitful and multiply. He promises that the animals of the Earth will fear them and their descendants, and gives them the right to eat meat. He warns, however, against eating the animal with its blood. He also vows that He will exact… Read More »

 

 

Topic 3: Tower of Babel

The Torah now tells a tragic tale, set just ten generations after the flood. All the people of the Earth speak a common language, and opt to use this unity to build a tower to heaven. Their expressed concern: they do not wish to be dispersed across the Earth.   God observes the tower, and… Read More »

 

 

Topic 4: Haftarah - The Lesson of the Precious Stones off the Coast of Haifa

In 1988, the Lubavitcher Rebbe predicted to the then-mayor of Haifa, Aryeh Gural, that in the coastal waters adjacent to his city, there are hidden vast resources of precious stones.  Some years later, upon learning of this conversation, one of the Rebbe’s disciples founded a company called “Shefa Yamim” (based on Devarim 33:19) dedicated to… Read More »
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