Chicago Chesed Fund

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Noach. History repeating itself.

Several years ago, I posted this:

 Rav Chaim Falagi's peirush on Tehillim, in 33:14:  מִמְּכוֹן שִׁבְתּוֹ הִשְׁגִּיחַ אֶל כָּליֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ. notes that the first letters of the first three words are משה, and the last three letters of those words are נוח, or, if you prefer,  ונח.  He says that Moshe was a gilgul of Noach's neshama.  The Arizal says the same thing.  They both note that Noach and Moshe were saved by being placed in a Teiva, which was floated upon the medium that brought death to the others of their generation- Noach the waters of the Mabul, which killed everyone of his generation, and Moshe the waters of the Nile, into which his cohort of male children had been thrown to drown.  This neshama, Noach's, was given the opportunity to do its mitzva a second time, this time doing it properly.  Although Noach was a great Tzadik and beloved by Hashem, he was criticized for not doing enough to influence and save the people of his time.  Moshe rectified this failure, because when Klal Yisrael did the sin of the Eigel, and Hashem told him that the people deserved destruction, and that Moshe would be the only survivor who would begin a new race, Moshe did not accept this terrible gzeira.  Moshe said that he cannot exist without the people he was responsible for.  He said, Hashem, forgive the people, and if not, מחני נא, erase me from your book of life.  The words מחני נא are an anagram for מנח אני.  Hashem, this is my second chance.  This time, I cannot live if my people die.  If they die, I will die with them.  (This idea is brought in many places: for example, it is in the Yalkut Reuveni in the beginning of Tetzaveh quoting the מגלה עמוקות, and in the Chasam Sofer's Drush for zayin Adar in 91) 

This year, when we discussed this at the Kiddush, I pointed out that while the story of Noach was the beginning of a story that culminated with Moshe Rabbeinu's saving the Jewish people, the story of Noach also echoes the experience of Adam in Gan Eden.

I am just pointing out parallels, not interpreting them.

1. When Noach came out of the Teivah, he was given dominion over the animals, even more than Adam HaRishon was.

2. Chazal see criticism in the words (9:20)   ויחל נח איש האדמה ויטע כרם :  Rashi- ויחל: עשה עצמו חולין, שהיה לו לעסוק תחלה בנטיעה אחרת:  As a result of his chillul,   וישת מן היין וישכר ויתגל בתוך אהלה , he drank and was exposed.  I see here a connection, an echo, of the story of Adam HaRishon.  Noach ate from an eitz, which happens to have been the grape (which the Zohar  in Noach 307 associates with the Eitz HaDaas from Gan Eden,) and as a result, his nakedness was exposed. (The Malbim in 9:20-21 touches on this and distinguishes between Adam covering his nakedness and Noach's exposure.)

3. I speculated that while Adam and Chava were tantalized by the possibility of becoming greater through a more intimate access to knowledge, perhaps Noach sought a connection to ruchniyus through something beyond knowledge, the type of trance state that Neviim experienced.  If so, both the chet of Adam HaRishon seeking knowledge, and the chet of Noach seeking something that required an abandonment of knowledge, were tainted by the immediate exposure of the animalistic component of the human state.  (I gratefully acknowledge Rabbi Dr. Resnick's comments and observations.)

This is not the sort of thing I usually write, and I only offer it as something to think about.  It might come in handy.

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