Parashat Noah: All Aboard

Check out Rabbi Buechler’s Parasha column for Noah featured in this week’s The Jewish Week! Some people need an extra nudge to get out of bed in the morning. Noah needed an extra nudge to get onto the ark. The Torah states that Noah and his sons and his wife went into the ark “Mipnei Mei HaMabul” “because of the waters of the flood” (Genesis 7:7). The Midrash in Genesis Rabbah 32:6 asks: Why does the Torah state that it was “because” of the flood waters that Noah and his family entered the ark? Didn’t God already tell Noah about the flood? Wouldn’t that warning have been enough to warrant Noah going into the ark? In the Midrash, Rabbi Yochanan explains that Noah was a person who lacked faith. According to Rabbi Yochanan, even if the waters had reached his ankles, Noah would not have entered the ark. Many other commentators disagree with this portrayal of Noah as a less-than-faithful person. The Chassidic commentator, Rabbi Yitzchak Meir of Zinkov, posits that perhaps Noah lacked the faith that God would really bring about a flood. It would take the actual flood waters to serve as an alarm clock for Noah that God was serious about destroying the entire world.

  • Do you agree with Rabbi Yochanan’s assertion that Noah lacked faith?
  • Why would Noah be hesitant to believe in God’s word?
  • What other factors do you think contributed to Noah’s resistance to enter the ark?

Shanah Tovah – Power to the Pomegranate: The ancient rabbis recognized the wonders of the pomegranates long before we knew about the health benefits of their antioxidants. The Talmud teaches that a pomegranate has 613 seeds, which are the same number of Mitzvot which are found in the Torah. It is a custom to eat pomegranate seeds on Rosh HaShanah as a symbol of all of the good things we hope to accomplish in the year ahead. We wish you a Shanah Tovah U’Metukah – a wonderful and sweet 5774! 

While cutting pomegranates tends to be a bit on the messy side, we at Midrash Manicures have found a fun and cleaner way to serve this delicious fruit.

Directions: Submerge a pomegranate into a big bowl of water and cut it in half inside of the water so that the juice does not squirt everywhere. Stick your hands into the water and release the seeds from the pomegranate by digging into the fruit and watching the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl. The rest of the fruit floats up to the top of the bowl so that the seeds remain separated. These seeds taste great on their own and also make a nice addition to Rosh HaShanah salads!

Israel Nail Decals At Midrash Manicures, we’ve had a busy summer as we just launched our NEW line of Israel Nail Decals which features decals from Chai, to Ahava, to Shalom, all for everyday wear! We hope these beautiful decals will enhance your start to this Jewish new year, 5774.

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