Numbers in [square brackets] are the mitzva-count of the Sefer HaChinuch.
Although no mitzvot are counted in this sedra among the 613, there are mitzvot in Parshat No'ach. For example, Be Fruitful & Multiply is repeated to No'ach, having been previously said to Adam. We count this mitzva at its first occurrence, from Parshat B'reishit. On the other hand, the prohibition of eating limb & meat from a living animal appears in No'ach, but is not counted among the 613 until it reappears in Parshat Re'eh. In this case, the first occurrence is considered to be directed at the people of the world; the second time it is a command to the People of Israel - therefore it is counted later. There's more; these were just samples.
Kohen - First Aliya - 14 p'sukim - 6:9-22
The sedra of B'reishit began with the glorious account of creation and "went downhill" from there: The exile of Adam and Chava from Gan Eden, Kayin and Hevel, the continuous degeneration (PI) through successive generations until G-d's "regret" for having created the world and his "decision" to destroy it. The only high note of this universal downslide comes at the end of the sedra: "And (But) No'ach found favor in G-d's eyes".
The sedra of No'ach continues this thread and
tells us that No'ach was completely righteous "in his time".
Noach is informed by G-d of His plans to destroy the world and is commanded to build an ark, bring into it two of every kind of animal and sufficient food for his family and the animals. Commentaries point out that Noach was given ample time to try to influence his generation to mend its ways. He either didn't succeed or didn't try too hard. He did exactly as he was told (and not more?).
Think about this...
But No'ach was part of it. And that is what G-d
usually wants when it comes to miracles. We, as humans, relate so much better to
that kind of miracle. Nachshon b. Aminadav needed to jump into the Sea before it
would split. People needed to see what No'ach was doing for 120 years. We need
to see some familiar nature inside a miracle, and we need to see the miracle
G-d tells Noach and his family to go into the ark and to take with him seven pairs of each kind of kosher animal and bird. Noach is told that in seven more days it will rain for 40 days and nights during which time all life on earth will be wiped out. Noach was 600 years old at the time of the Flood. And so it was.
The Talmud (in Pesachim) points to G-d's instructions to take "Animals that are Tahor (i.e. Kosher) and those that are not Tahor", as a lesson in speaking with a "clean" language, i.e. not vulgar. The Torah could have used the word TAMEI (unclean) but chose a longer periphrasis to use more pleasant terms. Commentaries ask, if this is so, how come the Torah uses the word TAMEI in many other contexts. The answer is, that when the Torah is setting down Mitzva and Halacha, it must use straightforward terms to avoid any possible confusion. When recounting a story, on the other hand, it is preferable to use more polite language.
G-d's commands to Noach to take pairs of animals and 7 pairs of kosher animals and birds are two separate matters. The pairs of animals were for the continuation of the species. These animals, we are taught, came on their own by instinct of self- preservation.
On the other hand, Noach had to bring into the
Teiva the other animals, whose destiny, so to speak, was the Altar and the
Rabbi Zev Leff explains that B'nei Noach are permitted to offer sacrifices from ANY kosher animal or bird; No'ach was not restricted to cow, goat, sheep, doves. Hence, for either reason, it would seem that there were seven pairs of deer, chickens, etc.
Shlishi - Third Aliya - 22 p'sukim - 7:17-8:14
The rains fell and the waters of the deep surged for 40 days and nights, but the Flood remained at its highest for an additional 150 days. G-d 'remembered" No'ach and all with him in the ark, and the waters began to recede. The ark settled on Mt. Ararat and 40 days later (Remember the first 40 days? This time the 40 represents the rebirth of those who survived the Mabul), No'ach opened the" window" of the ark and sent out a raven. Then he sent out a dove, and again, and finally after a full (365 day) year, the earth was ready to receive its new inhabitants.
The Torah tells us that every living thing was
destroyed by the Mabul except No'ach and those with him in the Teiva. ACH NO'ACH,
just No'ach was left... is numerically equal to 1+20+50+8=79. There is a
Midrashic tradition that OG, an antediluvian giant survived the Flood by holding
on to the Teiva. OG = 70+6+3 = 79. Who survived the Flood? (1) Just No'ach...
The last pasuk of this Aliya (9:14) states: And in the second month (many say it is Cheshvan, rather than Iyar, as it would be in a post-Exodus & Sinai period) on the 27th of the month, the Earth dried out. This pasuk ends the first era of the world. In the next pasuk, G-d essentially says to No'ach, Okay, here we go again. Let's do a better job of living properly this time. Leave the ark, you and your family and all the animals. Be fruitful and multiply. (Same thing was said the first time.) The stories of the First Era are contained between "B'reishit Bara..." and 9:14. Remarkably, both 1:1 and 9:14 have the same G'matriya — 2701.
G-d tells Noach to leave the ark with his wife, his sons and their wives, and all the animals and birds. Noach builds an altar and sacrifices upon it from all the kosher species (that are permitted for korbanot?). G-d's "reaction" to Noach's offerings is that in spite of the basic evil potential of human nature, He will "take things in stride" and not destroy in the "wholesale fashion" of the Flood (but rather punish on a more restricted individual basis). The laws of nature are altered to provide the world with a never- ceasing cycle of seasons and climactic conditions.
HERE'S A THOUGHT...
G-d blessed and commanded Noach and his family (and all of mankind) to be fruitful and multiply".
Noach receives permission to eat meat (this was denied to the previous generations), but was warned not to eat from a live animal. Murder and the other Noahide Laws are referred to at this point.
G-d makes a promise to mankind that He will never again destroy the world as He did with the Flood. The rainbow will serve as sign and reminder of this promise.
We acknowledge the significance of a rainbow by reciting a bracha when we see one "...He Who remembers the Covenant, is faithful to it, and keeps His word. Note that of the 10 items mentioned in Avot as having been created at the instant between the Six Days of Creation and the first Shabbat, all but the rainbow are supernatural. The rainbow, then, can be seen as a bridge between the natural and the supernatural. Put differently, we should see G-d's handiwork in all the elements of nature, not just in obvious miracles. "The mouth of the Earth" was a one-time creation to dispose of Korach and his gang. But regular rocks and hills, crags and clefts are no less part of G-d's handiwork.
Some say that a rainbow is a sign that G-d is angry with the world and would want to destroy it - except He promised not to.
On the other hand, Yechezkel describes the Heavenly Throne as like a rainbow, and the radiance of the Kohen Gadol upon leaving the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur is likened to a rainbow in the sky. And it's beautiful, too.
Second longest Shishi in the Torah.
Some time after leaving the ark, Noach becomes a
tiller of the soil and a grape grower. He produces wine and becomes drunk. One
of his sons, Cham, behaves immorally with his father in his drunken state; Shem
and Yafet behave admirably in the situation. When Noach realizes what has
happened he curses Cham and his son Canaan, and blesses Shem and Yafet. Noach
lives 350 years after the Flood, and dies at the age of 950.
There are at least five different periods during
which nature did not behave as we know it today.
These "lapses" in the Rule of Nature
can explain a variety of scientific issues related to time and the age of the
earth... and everything in it.
This is the longest Sh'vi'i in the Torah
The Torah tells us of the attempt to build the "Tower of Babel", the symbol of rebellion against G-d. (This happened, by the way, 40 years after the Mabul - that's another 40.) G-d thwarted the plans, confused the languages of mankind and scattered the people far and wide.
Commentaries contrast the two sinful generations
in this sedra. Dor HaMabul was destroyed because their sins included the
destruction of society by total disregard of a person for his fellow. Dor
HaPlaga sinned against G-d alone, not against each other. Society (albeit
altered) can survive; G-d can permit it to continue under these circumstances.
Yeshayahu draws a comparison between the covenant
that G-d made with all mankind via No'ach and the promises to the People of
Israel concerning their future. Just as G-d promised never to flood the whole
Earth again, so too does He promise not to rebuke and punish Israel (in the