Weekly Parsha Review Laced with Humor and Sarcasm from The Oisvorfer Ruv

Noiach 2016: Did Noiach & His Wife Share a Cabin on the Teyvo (Noah’s Ark)?

noahWe begin with a late breaking mazel tov shout-out to our good friends Esti and Yussy Silverstein upon the engagement (just yesterday) of their very beautiful daughter Merav (future attorney), to Aharon Watson, son of Ora & Mark Watson. Mazel tov to the entire extended Silverstein, Watson, Colton and Goldberg families.  Details to follow.

One more mazel tov shout out to our long time friends Beth and Yehudah Honig upon the very elegant and spirited wedding of their daughter Rebecca to Daniel Altaras.  May they enjoy many decades of marital bliss.

Raboyseyee and Ladies:

Did Noiach & His Wife Share a Cabin on the Teyvo (Noah’s Ark)?

Earlier this week, the Oisvorfer heard from his chaver and cousin Brian Duftler that his 11 year old son Boaz, (Sharon’s too), a member of the Yeshiva Boys Choir, performed over Chol Hamoid Sukkis (intermediary days) at a concert over in Bridgeport, CT.  That was of course nice to hear, go Boaz! The concert was attended by over 10,000 people, kimat all yeshivish and chasidish. And what’s the big news? Don’t people regularly attend concerts? They do. The big news in town was that the concert was held in conjunction with a Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey Circus, billed over the decades as the greatest show on earth. You read that correctly. A concert broke out during the circus. Don’t Yiddin regularly flock to the circus, and especially so when school is on extended Yom Tov recess? Indeed they do. Ober, it’s rather unique, efsher historic, to combine a circus with a concert performance by any choir, let alone a Jewish yeshiva boys choir. What’s zicher historic is this: in order to accommodate the shtick (bs) of the chasidim who might chas v’sholom (heaven forbid) become aroused while watching and enjoying the female circus performers -mistama scantily clad with very form fitting clothing- the circus agreed to feature an all-male cast.  The sexes needed to be separated, or in this case, a number of them eliminated, from the show. Not one female performer was allowed in the rings for that  performance. How clever!

circusThe Oisvorfer was mamish astounded to hear that the circus would accommodate this request and asked about the seating arrangements assuming of course, that the sexes too would have been separated. Brian advised that family seating was readily available; most chose that option. Men were able to sit mamish with and next to their own wives; OMG and how progressive. As a result, many men were of course seated next to the wives of their friends or stam azoy, wives of others they didn’t know. Was the sanitized performance then kosher but those in attendance sitting with ‘fremde froyin’ (women they did not know) not so? Was it a kosher performance davka because there were no female performers for the male chasiddim to ogle? Moreover, what has all this to do with parshas Noiach which we will be reading this week? Were the yeshivish/chasidish concert/circus promoters and organizers the first to insist on such male/female segregation and especially so around animals? Perhaps not and we shall address that below.

mechitzahAlso this past week, another chaver, one who attended yeshiva (a few) all the way through high school and maybe even beyond, one whose own father has been (and still is) a rebbe in the yeshiva system for over 30 years, admitted, after reading last week’s more than givaldige Bereishis review, that he never heard and was zicher not taught most of the medroshim that were quoted by Rashi and so eloquently paraphrased by the Oisvorfer. Said he: “they never taught this to me in yeshiva.” And if Bereishis astounded you, wait until you read what was going on in Noiach’s world this week. We are back with a few medroshim that were mistama also skipped.

Shoin, the title asked if Noiach and his wife shared a private cabin on the ‘Teyvo’ (Ark). Did they? Or, were they separated? What about Noiach’s three sons, each of whom was married and boarded the year-long cruise accompanied by a wife? Did each of them get to enjoy a private cabin? Who wants to know this information and why? Grada this question is, in some form, asked by no lesser a Toirah giant than the Kli Yokor, whomever he was. And he asks it why? For two reasons. Ershtens (firstly), he looked at the Rashi -who else- who tells us azoy: Noiach and his boys were barred from sexual activity while on the boat. A year without any. Shoin. Normally a full year without, might be considered cruel and unusual punishment for a married man, ober, after reading just last week that Odom (Adam), following the death of his son Hevel, abstained for 130 years, one year must have seemed like the blink of an eye. We will also learn that the ban on sexual relations while on board, was extended to include all the animals on the voyage. Nebech. Why the RBSO forbade sexual relations on the boat, ver veyst. A few do proffer ideas and space permitting, we shall address them shortly. Isn’t that why so many go cruising? Efsher we can kler that the extra rocking of the boat might have caused it to tip over, ver veyst. One thing is zicher: Bazman hazeh (in our times), there’s absolutely no reason to spend money on a cruise if chapping is not on the menu. Cruises should be alluring and mood enhancers, if you chap. In any event, says Rashi (6:18) that marital relations were strictly forbidden. And Rashi knew this how? From the words of the heylige Toirah?

cruisePerhaps. He took note of the very specific instructions the RBSO gave Noiach to enter the Teyvo. Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 6:18) azoy: “…..and you shall enter the Ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” Given that they were each specifically and separately delineated, Rashi concluded that so they were to remain while on board; sex was forbidden. Shoin, let’s get back to the Kli Yokor and his thoughts on separation. And what can we learn from him about male/female separation at the all-male concert/circus?

In the following perek (Bereishis 7:7) which is itself separated from the RBSO’s initial instructions by exactly 11 pisukim (verses) but are given 120 years later, the RBSO will instruct Noiach azoy: “Noiach with his boys, his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, went into the Teyvo. Noiach seemingly recalled the initial instructions and executed as directed. Also of note is that there was no other recorded communication between Noiach and the RBSO during the ensuing 120 years. Noiach and his boys boarded followed by his wife and daughters-in-law. Let’s go veyter. It’s a full year later (so says the medrish.) The Mabul (flood) has destroyed humanity, vegetation and all else. After a year at sea, the RBSO tells Noiach it’s time to exit the Teyvo. Let’s look at the very specific wording. Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 8:16), azoy: “go forth from the ark: you, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you.”

Noiach is to exit accompanied by his eishes chayil, and the boys may escort their wives off the ark. They can leave as couples. Efsher from the disparity in syntax, Rashi had deduced that sex was forbidden while at sea. And from these same words, observed the Kli Yokor azoy: of course we all chap and agree that sexual relations were verboten on the Teyvo. Ober, were they able to share sleeping accommodations? Could they be seen walking around as couples? Could they spend time together as husband and wife? Was Noiach allowed to share a cabin with his lovely wife without chapping? And the boys? Could they share a room? After all, don’t each of you have at least one friend who shares a bedroom with a wife where there  is absolutely no chapping? Shoin, that topic for another day. Mistama more than one, nebech. Nu, on the one hand, you might think of course they shared a cabin; how stupid to think otherwise! The men, all four of them, were legally married to their respective wives. Ober says the Kli Yokor: hold on; it’s not so poshit. It appears to him from the original instructions (7:7) that not only was sex forbidden, but males need to be totally separated from the females. They could not share cabins lest such proximity lead them to mixed drinking, dancing, and then followed by forbidden relations. Perhaps we can kler azoy: given that the animals too were included in the sex ban, and given the close proximity of Noiach and his boys to the myriad animals (which came 2×2 and some in groups of 7), not just was sex forbidden for all guests, and, to ensure proper compliance, the humans needed to be segregated. How would the animals feel were they to see, hear, or find out that while they were forbidden from mating, that Noiach and his boys were having a grand old time, if you chap.

warningShoin, let’s tie this all up as only the heylige Oisvorfer can and has the temerity to do, azoy.  Given that the concert where the Oisvorfer’s cousin Boaz performed featured animals (some mamish seated), and humans in the same ring, the promoters decided not to rock the boat and created a kosher circus where the female circus performers were to be separated from the males. The bottom line: Toirah inspired entrepreneurs may have looked at Rashi and the Kli Yokor and created a money making opportunity by presenting an all-male performance. Kudos to them.

Back to Noiach….did he listen to the RBSO’s specific disembarking instructions? Did he exit as instructed? Did Noaich disembark along with his eishes chayil (wife), followed by the boys and their wives? Seemingly not. Two pisukim later (Bereishis 8:18) we learn azoy: “So Noiach went forth, and his sons, his wife and his sons’ wives with him.” They left as they came, mamish  in circus/concert form. The men left first, followed by the women. Why, ver veyst? We can kler that he was as expected shell shocked from the devastation, and mistama also somewhat or very nauseous from the voyage, ver veyst. Efsher he just got used to being without her, and leaving the Teyvo alone had just become his routine. Sadly a few -most- can avada relate to this routine of being without, if you (don’t) chap.

What happened next? Once the world was totally destroyed, it was to be their (the Noiach family’s) mission to begin anew. The RBSO let them know that it was ok to resume normal, or begin a new normal. Seeing that Noiach and the boys were still separated and avada not yet chapping, He gave them new instructions: Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 9:1), azoy. “The RBSO blessed Noiach and his sons and said to them “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the land.”” In other words: Noiach and his boys were now given permission and specific instructions in the form of a mitzvah (positive commandment) to resume marital relations with their respective wives. And based on these last instructions, says the Kli Yokor azoy: indeed Noaich and the boys did not share cabins or much else while on board. Noaich did not listen or rejected the RBSO’s initial disembarking instructions: he maintained full separation. He and the boys only resumed normal following the RBSO’s last explicit instructions.

Couple trouble
Couple trouble

Shoin, based on this pshat, there was mamish no sexual or other contact on the Ark. Ober do all agree? Not! In previous postings on this parshas, which you can find over at www.oisvorfer.com, you will find that we covered the seemingly uncovered Noiach and told you that it appears from the text  -so says Rashi and many others- that while the sexes were seemingly separated and there was no male/female touching or even sleeping together, there may have been some male on male contact, if you chap, chas v’sholom, say it’s not so please, and more.  We discussed the ugly myseh of how Chom (Ham) happened upon his father Noiach while in a state of drunkenness and had his way with him, say it’s not so. Chom did what and with whom? Was a year without too much for Chom? Was too much male on male interaction possibly partially to blame for Chom’s despicable behavior? Was he in training to become a camp counselor? A yeshiva rebbe or pirchie leader efsher? Was separation of the sexes efsher partially to blame for the Noiach/Chom debacle? And what taka went down? Nu, lommer lernin (let’s learn).

The emes is azoy: The Oisvorfer is a shtikel reluctant (not really) to discuss the entire shocking Noaich/Chom incident. Ober, for educational purposes, and much like the heylige Gemora which at times discusses -in graphic detail- the most outlandish of topics, he will make an exception. Let’s begin with a short summary of the events leading to the event.

Noiach is amazed by his good fortune. A shtikel nauseous from the ride, and for sure from the stench the animals made during the long year; he’s otherwise ok.  His spirits are uplifted, but he recognizes that the world as he knew it was over. What to do? He becomes a gardener, plants a vineyard, drinks from its produce, and becomes drunk. In his intoxicated state, he shamefully uncovers himself in his tent. Exactly what that means is avada (certainly) the subject of much debate. Some say that while naked, Noiach’s son, Chom  (Ham by the goyim),  over 100 years old at this time, saw his father naked, assaulted him, and informed his two brothers of their father’s state. Rachmono litzlon (heaven forbid) and  what could be worse? The brothers, Sheim and Yophes, modestly approached their father and covered him. When Noiach awakened, he cursed Chom’s son, K’nan, and blessed Sheim and Yophes.  Is that all that happened? One would hope so, and so says the heylige Toirah, ober that didn’t avada stop many from positing some other ideas, many on the wild side. In fact, had you suggested any of these possibilities without having the heylige Gemora or Medrish to back you up, you’d be in serious danger of being placed into permanent cherim (excommunication,) or worse. Nu, thankfully the masters who reduced the heylige Gemora to writing, and others who wrote medroshim that are today very popular and still acceptable, though one has to question for how long, had vivid imaginations, and here’s some of what they had to say, shreklich (frightening) as it sounds and is.

wineNoiach planted a vineyard, drank the wine it produced, and became shikker? When did all this happen? Lommer lernin veyter please, and halt kup (pay attention). Avada after you get done with this week’s Toirah, you’ll mistama run out and buy yourselves a set of Mikrois Gedoilois which has even more information. Nu, mitoich sheh loi lishmo, bo lishmo (the inadvertent knowledge gained may stimulate you to gain more by further study), if you chap.

Says the Medrish (Tanchuma):  And Noiach began to be a man of the earth, and he planted a vineyard (9:20). When Noiach took to planting, Satan came and stood before him and said to him: “What are you planting?” Said he: “A vineyard.” Said Satan to him: “What is its nature?” Said he: “Its fruits are sweet, whether moist or dry, and one makes from them wine which brings joy to the heart.” Said Satan to Noiach  “Do you desire that we should plant it together, you and I?” Said Noiach  : “Yes.” Shoin, Noiach had a partner in the wine gisheft, and so gishikt (proficient) was this new dynamic duo, that on the very day Noiach and his shutiff (partner)  planted his vineyard, it bore fruit which he put into the wine-press, drew off the juice, drank it, became drunken, and was dishonored—all on one day.     What happened next? What did the Satan do? He brought a lamb and slaughtered it over the vine; then he brought a lion, and slaughtered it over it; then he brought a monkey, and slaughtered it over it; then he brought a swine, and slaughtered it over it; and he watered the vine with their blood. Thus he alluded to Noiach -when a person drinks one cup, he is like a lamb, modest and meek. When he drinks two cups, he becomes mighty as a lion and begins to speak with pride, saying: Who compares with me! As soon as he drinks three or four cups he becomes a monkey, dancing and frolicking and profaning his mouth, and knowing not what he does. When he becomes drunk, he becomes a pig, dirtied by mud and wallowing in filth.

Efsher you’re wondering when and where Noiach learned how to make wine? Did he sneak some grape seeds into the Tayvo? Nu, at 600 years of age, one has to assume that Noiach knew quite a bit, including farming, and says the Medrish  (Bereishis Rabba 36:4 Midrash Aggada 9:2) :  Noiach did indeed sneak a few vine branches into the Tayvo with him. He decided to begin the process of rebuilding the world by planting them. This was his first mistake, for he should have begun planting something more vital for mankind’s existence – wheat, for example. One mistake lead to another: He made wine, had a drink, then another and another. Once drunk, he lost his dignity. The message is that the pleasures of the world are available for us, but we must exercise restraint, and never lose sight of our role as a holy people.

Efsher you’re wondering how many years it took Noiach from planting to harvest to getting drunk, are you? Ober a quick read of these pisukim (verses) gives us a sense of immediacy.  It appears that Noiach planted his vineyard, and shortly afterwards was already shikker  – omitting the interim years that it takes to develop the vineyard to yield the wine. Is that what happened?  Ver veyst, ober says the Medrish (Bereishis Rabah 36azoy): Reb. Chiya Bar Aba said. On the very same day he planted, on that day he drunk and on that day he was disgraced. Now, that’s real productivity!

Avada this isn’t the  last time wine will be used before some vilde sex act, and zicher you’ll be glued to your chumish next week when we learn that Loit’s techter (daughters) also used wine to repeatedly seduce their aged father, and for those who want more, pick up the heylige Gemora and learn how  Dovid Hamelech (king David),  used wine to get Uriah drunk in a vain attempt to induce Uriah to have intercourse with his wife Batsheva, so that Dovid’s adultery and her pregnancy could be concealed. Is it good to be the king or what? Oy vey!!!

canaan_and_hamNext: Noiach was naked; he was assaulted by a 100 year old son or grandson. What’s pshat? What the hec went down here, and  is this why the RBSO chose to save Noiach and his mishpocho?  Was this the same Noiach, the very person the RBSO referred to as a tzadik, an appellation reserved for a very select few?  What’s taka pshat here? Or don’t you at all care, and only want more color on the schmutz described above, chazerim that you are. Nu, the Oisvorfer will do his best to further illuminate with teachings of the heylige Gemora, the Medrish and Chazal (our wise ones.)  Seemingly, they either chapped better or after imbibing some extra kiddush, had more vivid imaginations, efsher both. Is it possible that they were surfing an earlier version of the Internet? Yikes!!

Nu, before we learned that Noiach son’s saw him naked, and what’s  taka wrong with walking around the house naked? Were the neighbors going to see him? Weren’t they all dead? Ver veyst? Don’t men innocently see each other naked in the mikveh on a regular basis, and nothing nefarious takes place? Don’t answer that! Some say that while in this state, his grandson, K’nan the minuvil, had a sexual encounter with his grandfather. Others say it was Noiach’s 3rd grade Rebbe. Yet others say, it was his Pirchei or NCSY leader, ver veyst? Whatever, Noiach was bummed out, if you chap, and not a happy camper. When Noiach recovers and pieces together what took place behind his back, if you chap, he bentches (blesses) Sheim and Yophes, and curses Chom, his other son, and his grandson K’nan. No surprises here. Say it’s not so, please, ober seemingly it is. Can you just imagine the scene as Noaich woke up with epes some unusual soreness and realized what happened? Oy myne tieereer kinderlach, let’s have a family meeting. Oh Chom, come here sheyfile (term of endearment). What were you doing behind your father’s back while he was shluffing? Was this the conversation? Ver veyst.
Exactly what happened to Noiach, and who did what, is zicher a mystery, anyone’s guess based only on the writer’s vilde imagination. In other words, it’s all efsher not emes, and Noiach  mistama shluffing in the buff with but a shmatta for a cover, had become uncovered when he rolled over in his sleep. The precise nature of what Chom the minuvil did while in the tent remains obscure.  And taka says the Radak: his offense was solely to see his father uncovered (and his willingness to share that information with his brothers).  Ober our Chazal in the heylige Gemora went much further than what is explicit in the text. They suggested that in fact either Chom castrated Noiach, or he engaged in homosexual relations with Noiach (an alternative form of “uncreation”), and then castrated him, none sound very pleasant; kiddush anyone?  B’kitzur (in short):  one said that Chom castrated Noiach, and the other that he only sodomized him- mamish a tzadik; can you imagine a better son and grandson – such yiddishe nachas! The Gemora says that both Rav and Shmuel were inebriated when they argued p’shat here, and states empathically that both happened. Chom the minuvil mamish sodomized and castrated his father.  Nice!  And the next time your dad gives you some lip, remind him what a good son you are compared to Chom and his son K’nan.

The failure to interpret Chom’s offense as simple voyeurism (itself but efsher a misdemeanor), and the interpretation that something more drastic occurred, is supported by the verse “And Noiach awoke from his wine, and knew what his youngest son had done unto him.”  Clearly, something beyond simple peeking had to have occurred.

And says another source:  Chom in fact committed an incestuous act with Noach’s wife (his mother). Come again? The rationales for this interpretation are several.  First, the wording of “uncover nakedness” is only used in Sefer Vayikra (Liviticus) to describe heterosexual incest, not the homosexual act.  And more specifically, Vayikra 18:8 equates “the nakedness of your mother” with the “nakedness of your father.”  As well, if Chom engaged in incestuous sex with his mother, the text’s emphasis on his son K’nan becomes clear. K’nan is the product of this incestuous union, as Moiov and Ammon are the product of Loit and his daughters. That is why the text consistently identifies Chom as the “father of K’nan,” and why Noiach chooses to curse K’nan upon awakening.  Are you chapping all this? Is this what you think happened to our hero Noiach, nebech?

The Toirah also alludes to the possibility that this occurred in Chom’s mother’s tent, chutzpah mamish.  Chom’s act of sleeping mit di mama (with his mother)  would therefore be seen as an act of rebellion against Noiach’s authority, you think?

meatWhat happened here? The world was destroyed; even the foundations were gone after hot lava wiped all away, and Noiach made wine? Wasn’t he in the mood for sushi? Isn’t everyone? The RBSO just told him he could have chicken and even steak, and he wanted wine? What gives here, what’s p’shat? By the way, it’s taka emes that following the Mabul, Noiach was given permission to enjoy meat.

A medrish relates that Chom and his wife were the only couple, human or animal, to cohabit while on the Tayva. Mistama she liked seamen, if you chap. All  the other “survivors” remained celibate until emerging from the Tayva one year from the start of the Mabul. Furthermore, K’nan was conceived during that year while on the Tayva, talk about rocking the boat. Another heylige Gemora in Sanhedrin (108b) states that the previous medrish is not the entire story:  that three copulated in the Tayva and all were punished. Taka who? The dog, the raven, and Chom the minuvil. How the heylige Gemora knew that the dog and the raven had relations in the Tayva, nu, this I don’t know; was the raven ‘singing like a bird’?

Chazal in Beireishis Rabba states that Chom’s descendants were the original tinkele (colored people), ver veyst? The miforshim add that Chom’s punishment was a darkening of the skin. Can you imagine such a gifeliche (terrible) punishment? How many hours have you laydigeyers (oisvorfs) sat in the sun schmearing lotions all over yourselves trying to darken your skin? This was the punishment for having sex in the Tayva? Oif mir gizugt. Nu, if only tanning was so easy.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, and perhaps safe to go back into the water, in the very next aliya we read the story of the Tower of Babel. Noiach’s descendents gathered in the Babylonian valley and started building a tower in an attempt to reach the heavens, and battle the RBSO. What were they thinking? The RBSO wasn’t at all happy with their behavior and again meted out swift punishment. He confused their language so that “one does not comprehend the tongue of the other,” causing them to abandon their project and disperse across the face of the earth, splitting into seventy nations.

schechter-bavelAlas all is not lost.  As Parshas Noiach concludes, Avram (later Abraham), is introduced, and the tide begins to turn for the better.

We close with an excellent vort the Oisvorfer heard some years back but can’t recall the source. Rashi, in discussing whether or not Noiach was a truly righteous person states azoy: Yesh Meraboysaynu (a number of Rabbis) state the he was really a good guy- V’yesh shedorshin Oisi lignay (others say he wasn’t all that good.) Notice the words: when it mentions that he was good, the words used are Yesh Meraboysaynu- a number of our Rabbis.  The word Raboysaynu is missing when it mentions that ‘others’ say that Noiach wasn’t all that good.  Said my chaver: those speaking loshoin horo about Noiach are not called Rabbis!  If only that were emes…

A gitten Shabbis-

The Oisvorfer Ruv

Yitz Grossman


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