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עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

Studying Parshat Noah

Posted by rabbiart on October 26, 2008

Is there any better way to start the new week, and the study of the next Parshah, with the best midrash about Noah ever created?  (with apologies to all our sages) Right! Here’s Bill Cosby’s midrash on Noah.

Could Noah have been any more incredulous in the actual event than the reaction that Cosby gives us?   At the end of Parshat Breshit we learn simply that
נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה, בְּדֹרֹתָיו:  אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים, הִתְהַלֶּךְ-נֹחַ. Noah was a tzadik, tamim in his time, walking with himself with Elohim because he found grace with Hashem.

At the beginning of our Parshah, Noah is given an explanation (verse 13), a set of marching orders (verses 14-16 and 19-21), and a promise (verses 17-18).The Torah then reports (verse 22) that Noah did as HaShem commanded him.  The wording of that verse seems to speak to our amazement that Noah would react as he did.

וַיַּעַשׂ, נֹחַ:  כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה אֹתוֹ, אֱלֹהִים–כֵּן עָשָׂה

Thus did Noah; according to all that Elohim commanded him, so did he.

It is as if the Torah anticipates the reaction of the reader. First the Torah proclaims that Noah did as Elohim commanded him, then seems to pause for our reaction of disbelief and then responds by saying, in answer to our amazement — yes, he did!  Noah did as HaShem commanded him.

Given the First Couple’s failure to obey the commandment given them, was HaShem perhaps also amazed at Noah’s complete responsiveness, which is underscored in the next chapter as well (Breshit 7:5). Does human behavior surprise HaShem? Is this possible?

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