Questions and Suggested Answers

Based on the writings of Nehama Leibowitz

Question

Read over the story of the flood (6, 9- 9, 17) and mark the twelve subdivisions referred to in our quotation at the beginning from Cassuto, in the following manner:

Act I Act II

1. 6, 9-12 7. 8, 1-6

2. 6, 13-22 8. 8, 7-14

3. 7, 1-5 9. 8, 15-19

4. 7, 6-9 10. 8, 20-22

5. 7, 10-16 11. 9, 1-7

6. 7, 17-24 12. 9, 8-17

Pay careful attention to the conclusion of these paragraphs. What is the significance of the similarity in phrasing that you find in the paragraphs concerned?

Answer

In “Act I” the conclusion of paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and 5 contains the same explicit message: That Noah fulfilled the command of God. Thus all of Noah’s actions were not exclusively self-centered i.e. to save his life and the life of his family. Rather, his primary motive was to fulfill God’s purpose.

In “Act II” the conclusion of paragraphs 7, 8 and 9 deal with the end of the flood and a return of the earth to its normal state. The conclusion of paragraphs 10, 11, and 12 deal with the new order of the earth: God will never again destroy the world by water. In addition to issuing the command to Noah to be fruitful and multiply as God did to Adam, they are also warned against resorting to violence against humans. Adam was not warned explicitly against committing violence.

 

Prepared by: Rabbi Mordechai Spiegelman veteran yeshiva educator (USA) now residing in Jerusalem

 

 

 

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08 Sep 2005 / 4 Elul 5765 0