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Torah Portion Noach - Walk as Noah



Genesis 6:9-11:32

Part of the Torah portion: G-d instructs Noah — the only righteous man in a world consumed by violence and corruption—to build a large wooden teivah (“ark”) coated within and without with pitch. A great deluge, says G‑d, will wipe out all life from the face of the earth; but the ark will float upon the water, sheltering Noah and his family, and two members (male and female) of each animal species (and 7 of the "pure" species).


For Noahides


In this blog I want to focus on the first verse of this Parshah


אֵ֚לֶּה תּוֹלְדֹ֣ת נֹ֔חַ

נֹ֗חַ אִ֥ישׁ צַדִּ֛יק

תָּמִ֥ים הָיָ֖ה בְּדֹֽרֹתָ֑יו

אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים הִֽתְהַלֶּךְ־נֹֽחַ׃


This is the line/ offspring of Noah.—

Noah was a righteous man;

he was blameless in his generation;

Noah walked with God.

(Bereishit 6:9)


There was "no need" to start with the words: “אֵ֚לֶּה תּוֹלְדֹ֣ת” We would also have understood the text if she had started by telling who Noah was and then told about the births of his sons.


Chizkuni explains that the word אֵ֚לֶּה is used to make a clear distinction from what has gone before. Noach, was not a continuation of the history of mankind up until now, but represents a 180 degree turn from that history. Whereas the generations prior to him progressed toward their destruction, he represented a new beginning for mankind. He founded a new type of human being.


The people of the world - with exceptions - have forgotten the 7 Noahides Laws, let alone observing them because G-d expects and desires it. Let our generation be a generation that will consciously distinguish between past centuries and the years ahead, in order to carefully observe, recite and propagate these Laws - with their details - wherever possible.


He was a tzaddik - righteous man, almost perfect. It was for this reason that he found grace in the eyes of G-d. The Rebbe explained that a tzaddik is merely an extension of G-d here in this world to help people, which he does by tapping into G-d's powers. So - With G-d's help, is was Noah's task - as the leader of his generation - to return the people to G-d.


Unlike Abraham who bargained (prayed) with G-d for the salvation of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, we do not see this with Noah. Noah was mainly practical, building a boat, hoping that people would start asking questions. But the initiative remained with the people instead of Noah.


Noahides must/could ask themselves how they stand in their mission to propagate the 7 Laws. Do they propagate the 7 Laws mainly practically by living them, by writing about them and telling about them when people ask questions, or do they actively approach people, stand on the barricades to get the laws into the legal system of their country?


Noah was blameless in his generation.


Ibn Ezra points out that the word תָּמִ֥ים can be read as Whole-Hearted. It has to do with his lifestyle in which he perfected his personality (Ohr haChaim) more and more.


He believed with all his heart that what G-d had said would happen and trusted with all his heart that G-d would save him and his family. He wanted to be the best version of himself before G-d and that is what we can learn from him today. We must develop our character traits in the most positive way possible, become the best version of ourselves.


The Torah uses the reflexive התהלך here, emphasising that Noah kept walking G-d kept walking. He was constantly pleasing his Creator, something that found its ultimate expression in his post-flood sacrifice.


This is what we must learn to do as well. To keep walking with G-d. Even when we find it difficult, or when we experience setbacks. When we think that observing the 7 Laws does not always seem to be to our advantage. When we experience opposition from friends, family and our surroundings. We keep going with G-d and feel safe in His Ark, His Word, His Torah, we know that we are safe in the 7 Laws.


Brought By Angelique Sijbolts

 

Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners and intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.


 

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