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Not Enough Room?

R Peach Siegel

Parshat Noach

Oct 19, 2012

Parshas Noach 5773


At the end of Parshas Breishis, it is told that Noach had children at the age of five hundred years old. Rashi quotes the words of Rav Yudan, “What is the reason that all the other generations had children at the age of one hundred years old while Noach had to wait until he was five hundred?” HaKodesh Baruch Hu said, “If Noach would have children in his youth, at the time of the flood they would already have their own path in life. If they turn out to be wicked, they will perish in the flood. This would bring evil upon Noach. If they are righteous, they will require many ships to be built for them to save them from the waters of the flood. This would place a burden upon Noach.”  Hashem therefore sealed Noach’s wellspring. (Perek 5, posuk 32)


Thus, Hashem caused Noach to be without children for four hundred years due to lack of space!


The Ramban, in Parshas Noach, notes, “It is well known that there are many varied species in the animal kingdom, some of them are of huge proportions, like elephants for example, as well as the great number of creatures that crawl upon the land. The species of birds are without number.  Plus, there must be a sufficient number of each species to ensure their continuity. Food must be brought into the Teivah to last for an entire year. There just is not enough space in the Teivah to contain it all. If one might be tempted to explain that the measurements of the Teivah are based upon the amah (arm length) of the people of the time, who were considerably larger than our times, one must also take into consideration that the animals at the time of the flood were also larger. But, it was a miracle. The small area contained the larger contents.” (Perek 6, posuk 19)


Why is it that Hashem would perform a miracle to enable the Teivah to absorb all its contents, yet when it comes to finding the space to house Noach’s children many additional Teivos would have to be built?


The Teivah was more than a form of salvation. It was a miniature world.


Hashem created a world. It was to be a place where His will is to be revealed. It is comprised of many rooms, compartments, and chambers and provided with tools and vessels to serve Him. He breathed life into Adam HaRishon, His Kohen Gadol. Adam was instructed to enter the Holy Temple and serve his Creator with the keilim (tools) provided to him.


The men of the generation of flood corrupted this world.


The corruption reached so deep, it was impossible to repair. The entire world had to be destroyed. The teivah was a seed.  It was a microcosm. It was an entire world in miniature.


It was a veritable Beis HaMikdash. The Beis HaMikdash also had this quality. A parallel existed between all that exists within the world and the structure and contents of the Beis HaMikdash.


And Noach was the Kohen Gadol of this Beis HaMikdash. His avoda was to perform chessed.  His tenure in the teivah was an entire year of chessed. He had not a moment for himself. This was his avoda and this is what saved him. Had he been lax in his service, the boling, sulfuric waters of the teivah would have melted off the protective tar, and the teivah would have come apart in the waters. (Michtav MeEliyahu)


Chessed was Noach’s avoda because that was his middah. He excelled in this middah. He was born to perform acts of chessed. The teivah was an entire world of chessed. His children were young. they had not yet perfected their own particular brand of service of their Creator. They were a part of Noach’s world.


If Noach would have had adult children, they would have had their own middos. Thus they would have required their own Beis HaMikdash particularly tailored to their unique middos.


Thus, it was not due to lack of space that Hashem delayed the process of child bearing.


And perhaps on a deeper level, Hashem did not want the new world to be created by Teivos which personified the different middos. He wished the world to be founded on pure unadulterated chessed.

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