Saturday, October 06, 2007

Noach Summary

Ten generations after the creation of Adam, and his descendants have corrupted the world with immorality, idolatry and robbery. G-d resolves to bring a flood which will destroy all the earth’s inhabitants except for Noach and his family, the sole righteous people of his era. G-d instructs Noach to build an Ark in which to escape the Flood, and to bring into it two of each non-kosher species of animal, seven pairs of kosher species, and enough food for the animals and people to last for a year. It rains for forty days and nights and the water covers the entire earth. 150 days after the rain stops the water begins to recede. On the 17th day of the 7th month, the Ark comes to rest on Mount Ararat. Noach sends forth a raven to ascertain if the waters have abated. The raven circles the ark and refuses to fly off, so Noach sends out a dove. The dove is unable to find a place to rest, and it returns to the ark. A week later Noach again sends out the dove, which returns the same evening with an olive branch in its beak. After seven more days, Noach again sends forth the dove, which does not return. G-d then tells Noach and his family to leave the Ark.
Noach sacrifices animals to G-d as a thanksgiving offering. G-d vows never again to flood the entire world and gives the rainbow as a sign of this covenant. G-d also permits Noach and his descendants to kill animals for food for the first time. G-d gives Noach and his descendants the Seven Universal Laws; the prohibition of idolatry and blasphemy, categories of forbidden sexual relations, murder, stealing, eating the meat of a living animal, and the institution of a legal system. The world’s climate is established as we know it today.
Noach plants a vineyard and becomes intoxicated on the wine. Ham, Noach’s son, delights in seeing his father drunk and uncovered. Shem and Jafeth however, cover their father without looking at his nakedness, by walking backwards. As a result Noach curses his son Ham that the descendants of Ham’s son Canaan will be the lowest of slaves. The Torah lists the offspring of Noach’s three sons from whom are descended the seventy nations of the world.
The Torah tells of the Tower of Babel, which the people of the world built as an act of rebellion against G-d. As a punishment G-d separates the nations by giving them many different languages and disperses them throughout the world. The Parsha concludes with the genealogy from Noach to Avram.

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