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Parshas Noach 5771

Rabbi Pesach Siegel

Parshat Noach

Oct 11, 2010

Hashem decreed destruction upon His world. The world was rife with immorality and thievery. He bought upon it a flood.A small remnant would be allowed to survive, Noach, his sons, and their wives. The entire year of the flood they would float above the destruction.

The giant, Og, who was to become the king of Bashan, swam alongside the ark. The waters directly adjacent to the ark were miraculously cooled off. His head extended into the ark.

Noach built an ark, according to exact specifications. It was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. He took with him provisions for an entire year. During that year, he was the caretaker of all the creatures housed within.

There is a difference of opinion in the medrash, whether the source of light in the teivah was a window or a precious stone.

After having survived the flood, Noach planted a vineyard, partook of its fruits, succumbed to its influence and lay in shame bereft of his clothing.


The Hebrew name for a boat is sefinah. Why is Noach’s boat called a teivah

Why, of all possible manners to destroy the world, did Hashem choose to do so through water?

When one calculates the amount of space two of every creature in the world takes up, in addition to seven of every kosher animal, adding the food and water required for an entire year, there is no way of explaining, by natural means, the capability of the ark to contain it all.

If the solution to this problem is due to Hashem’s miraculous intervention, then for what reason was there such a stress on the dimensions of the ark? Any size would suffice. 

Of all the ones in the world to be saved, why was Og singled out for this distinction?

Background/Deeper Understanding

Death, darkness and limitations are all products of a distance between man and his Creator. If one conforms to the intent that the Creator had upon creating the world, he represents G-d’s will, and G-d’s will lasts for all eternity. All is clear and all is possible. The laws of nature, of time and space, have no hold over one who has a bond with the Kol Yachol (all powerful).

In the very origins of creation this was so. Adam HaRishon was able to gaze from one end of the world to the other. The reproduction process was instant and without the death-like pain of labor. There no need to hide any part of the wonderful creation called man. His very body was kiddush shem shamayim incarnate. Light emanated from his very flesh. He was an illumination to all that surrounded him. Defying space, his body extended from one end of the world to the other. 

This is a glimpse into Hashem’s world. The Beis HaMikdash is a microcosm of the world as it was at the moment of creation. Every element of the Temple was sanctified for the honor of G-d. It was build with exactitude, not deviating an iota from the word of G-d uttered by His prophet.

It was alive. There was no presence of death within. The rites practiced within resembled those of a slaughter-house, carcasses and spilled blood throughout. Yet, there were no flies attracted to the dead meat, no putrefying odor arising from the corpses. The priests laid out the show-bread on erev Shabbos of each week, and there it would remain until the following erev Shabbos. When eaten, it still retained the fresh baked quality of the week before. There was no process of decay.

A bright holy light burned within, the light of the menorah. The Beis HaMikdash had no need of external light. The windows were constructed in a fashion to emit light to the outside, the illumination spreading out to all of creation.

The laws of space were suspended. All who were crammed in to the courtyard, miraculously, had ample space to bow down. The Aron HaBris took up no space inside of the Kodesh HaKadoshim.

When all that defied Hashem’s mastery of the world had perished, the inhabitants of Noach’s teivah, were, in essence, the entire world.


 Once a world has been corrupted, it can no longer be repaired. It must be returned to its former state and recreated from anew, as a broken piece of crystal is returned to the forge, melted down, and reborn afresh.

Water cleanses, purifies, and melts elements down to their former state. Hashem literally was returning the world back to the second day of creation, when all that existed was a world covered with water. The world, as we know it, was no more, the only remnant being the teivah, the Holy Sanctuary, and housed within Noach and his family, the holy priests serving in the one bastion of Hashem’s will that remained in the world. Just as a Kohen would serve in the Beis HaMikdash, just as Adam HaRishon when he took his first steps upon the ground of Gan Eden.

The people fit in, the various creatures fit in, and there was ample room for the provisions. The denizens of the teivah existed “above” the world. They were spending the year in a privileged state, alone with their Creator, when anything is possible. 

The food lasted for an entire year. It remained fresh, just like the lechem hapanim in the Beis HaMikdash. There was no odor arising from the animals. Odor stems from filth and death. There was none in the teivah.

A gem illuminated the interior (according to one opinion). An internal light.

The teivah was 30 cubits tall …. And so was the first Beis HaMikdash. The dimensions of the teivah were not meant to provide room for all that it contained. They parallel those of the Beis HaMikdash.

It was called a teivah. The word teivah is spelled tav, yud, beis, heh. When you rearrange the letters it spells the word habayis – the House. It was a boat, but its role was that of a Beis HaMikdash.

Our sages tell us that in the times of our redemption, through the hands of Hashem’s emissary, Mashiach Tzidkeinu, the Beis HaMikdash will be rebuilt. The rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash is a necessary component of the restructuring of the world in G-d’s image.

Adam HaRishon was intended to be the one who would bring all of creation back to its creator.When he failed and Adam’s world was destroyed, Noach took it upon himself to accomplish what Adam failed to accomplish. He built the teivah, his Beis HaMikdash, he performed his priestly duties of what amounted to sustaining the entire world.

Og accompanied the teivah. Who was Og? He was uniquely appropriate for this position. He was destined to be the one to save the “father” of Mashiach from his enemies. The four kings captured Lot, nephew of Avrohom Avenu. It was Og who escaped and informed Avraham Avenu that the ancestor of Mashiach is under the power of the nations.

Upon emerging, Noach drank from the wine, and due to its effects, lay there unclothed, just as Adam HaRishon had been prior to his sin. There is no need for garments when one is all that Hashem wishes him to be. There is nothing to cover, to be ashamed of.

Although Noach was premature, and he too fell prey to captivating wiles of the fruit of the vine, the eitz hada’as, he set into motion a process that led to another teivah, the teivah of Moshe Rabeinu, who brought down the Torah from the heavens. In its light we shall pierce through all the darkness of this world and merit a geulah shleimah bim’heirah biyameinu.

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