Raboyseyee and Ladies,
We begin by wishing a big mazel tov to our friends and neighbors Tracie & Sam Shore upon the birth and upcoming bris of their first grandson, born to their children Amanda and Gershon Adler. Mazel tov to the new parents; may baby boy Adler bring you much joy and nachas. We look forward to joining you at this great simcha. Mazel tov as well to Gershon’s parents, Shana & Yitz (3rd grade classmate) Adler. Keyn yirbu!
A third and final shout-out to Simi Felder upon his bar mitzvah. The fourth and final part -the big party- for friends and family will be taking place at 7PM. We look forward to joining you.
Seeing is Wanting
I love Sefer Bereshis: Nothing –no matter how shocking and embarrassing- is held back. Seemingly, the RBSO wanted us to know just how flawed early version of Man was; he was taka bad! So was Woman! Last week, in parsha number one, we read that Chava was seduced by the serpent into touching and then eating forbidden fruit. According to many a medrish, seduction involved more than touching, if you chap. They posit that the cunning serpent seduced her mamish and engaged in sexual activity. Let us recall that -back then- the serpent was standing erect, if you chap, and shoin. We also discussed a medrish which has Odom and wife number one -not Chava- arguing over sexual positioning while in the act. By the end of the parsha, Man was up to yet more mischief, the RBSO had second thoughts and was ready to destroy Man 1.0 and go back to factory settings.
And this week? We’re back! Welcome to Parshas Noiach where the RBSO decided to begin all over again and that Noiach was to be the lone survivor (along with his wife, three sons and their wives) of the great flood which would destroy the world the RBSO had created in Parshas Bereishis. All humanity would be rebuilt through them.
According to many a medrish, Noiach was a farmer and the inventor of the farming implements including the plow. Ironically, and as we will discuss below, Noiach may seemingly also have been the first to get plowed. To add insult to injury, it appears to some that the plower may have been one of his own sons. Mamish? Let’s read the relevant pisukim innaveynig. Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 9:22-25), azoy:
|22. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness, and he told his two brothers outside.||כבוַיַּ֗רְא חָ֚ם אֲבִ֣י כְנַ֔עַן אֵ֖ת עֶרְוַ֣ת אָבִ֑יו וַיַּגֵּ֥ד לִשְׁנֵֽי־אֶחָ֖יו בַּחֽוּץ:|
|23. And Shem and Japheth took the garment, and they placed [it] on both of their shoulders, and they walked backwards, and they covered their father’s nakedness, and their faces were turned backwards, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness.||כגוַיִּקַּח֩ שֵׁ֨ם וָיֶ֜פֶת אֶת־הַשִּׂמְלָ֗ה וַיָּשִׂ֨ימוּ֙ עַל־שְׁכֶ֣ם שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם וַיֵּֽלְכוּ֙ אֲחֹ֣רַנִּ֔ית וַיְכַסּ֕וּ אֵ֖ת עֶרְוַ֣ת אֲבִיהֶ֑ם וּפְנֵיהֶם֙ אֲחֹ֣רַנִּ֔ית וְעֶרְוַ֥ת אֲבִיהֶ֖ם לֹ֥א רָאֽוּ:|
|24. And Noah awoke from his wine, and he knew what his small son had done to him.||כדוַיִּ֥יקֶץ נֹ֖חַ מִיֵּינ֑וֹ וַיֵּ֕דַע אֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר־עָ֥שָׂה ל֖וֹ בְּנ֥וֹ הַקָּטָֽן:|
|25. And he said, “Cursed be Canaan; he shall be a slave among slaves to his brethren.”||כהוַיֹּ֖אמֶר אָר֣וּר כְּנָ֑עַן עֶ֥בֶד עֲבָדִ֖ים יִֽהְיֶ֥ה לְאֶחָֽיו:|
Do any of the above pisukim mention rape, sodomy, homosexuality, and or incest? Is that what we read? Not! What’s this stuff doing in the heylige Toirah? What could be worse? Raping and castrating one’s own father? Say its not so please, nor does the text suggest otherwise, but our sages of the medrish and the heylige Gemora are adamant; Noiach was indeed raped and or castrated by his son Chom. They argue over but one issue: Was Noiach raped, sodomized -as in castration- or both? Is this mamish an argument reduced to the folios of the heylige Gemora? Yes, it is and we quote verbatim the entire argument which is reduced to seven words.
רב ושמואל חד אמר סרסו וח”א רבעו
And in English: Having cited the passage discussing Noach, the Gemora enters into a discussion about what was actually done to him by his younger son, Ham. Rav and Shmuel disagreed: One says that Ham castrated Noah and one says that Ham sodomized him. OMG! Could this be?
The color is vivid, explosive and sexually charged. Let us begin with a few lines from the text itself before we get to our sages and what they had to say. The Toirah (Bereshis 9:22) records that Cham saw his father drunk and uncovered in his tent and informed his brothers of his father’s indignity. Chazal (our sages of yore) in the heylige Gemora (Sanhedrin 70a cited in Rashi to Bereishis 9:22) assert that Chom also either raped his father or castrated him (Rav and Shmuel debate whether the crime was rape or castration). You hear this Raboyseyee?
Ober the questions include these: which of the words in the pisukim above could be translated -even loosely- into rape or castration? What gave our sages the idea and the license to reduce to writing that Noiach was either raped, sodomized, or both? These are serious charges. Does the heylige Toirah so state? It does not! It tells us only that Noiach lie naked and drunk and that his son Chom so found him. How did our sages draw the connection to what our sages assert?
Not to worry because if Rav and Shmuel introduce the rape charge, they must have had some good basis and it goes azoy: The Gemora states that the basis for the assertion that a rape occurred is the fact that the word “Vayar,” (and he saw), appears both in the contexts of Chom seeing his father, and the rape of Dinah (Bereshis 34:2) where the Toirah records that Shechem first saw, and then took and raped Dinah. Dina? Are we not jumping ahead? How is Dina’s rape at all related to Noiach who lived many generations earlier? Let’s find out: In a few more weeks, we will taka read how Dina “went out” to check out the scene in the streets of Shechem and was ultimately raped (also sodomized) by the chazir swine, Shechem himself. And? Since the story there contains the words “and he saw” and since Chom in our parsha also “saw”, he too must have raped and or sodomized his father Noiach. You hear this raboysesee? Our sages -unlike most of you- were versant in the entire heylige Toirah. They read every word and then figured out that each word has meaning, or at least a clue to solving the puzzle. In the Dina story, the hint came form the words “he saw.” Let’s read the words as found in Bereishis 38:1-2.
|1. Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to look about among the daughters of the land.||אוַתֵּצֵ֤א דִינָה֙ בַּת־לֵאָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָֽלְדָ֖ה לְיַֽעֲקֹ֑ב לִרְא֖וֹת בִּבְנ֥וֹת הָאָֽרֶץ:|
|2. And Shechem the son of Hamor, the Hivvite, the prince of the land, saw her, and he took her, lay with her, and violated her.||בוַיַּ֨רְא אֹתָ֜הּ שְׁכֶ֧ם בֶּן־חֲמ֛וֹר הַֽחִוִּ֖י נְשִׂ֣יא הָאָ֑רֶץ וַיִּקַּ֥ח אֹתָ֛הּ וַיִּשְׁכַּ֥ב אֹתָ֖הּ וַיְעַנֶּֽהָ:|
And because we know with certainty that Shechem first “saw” then took, and then raped Dinah, our sages determined that when the perpetrator first saw his or her (as we shall read below) victim, an forced sexual act followed. Is it that simple? Is that enough for an indictment of Chom? For serious charges of rape? What is the rationale for these charges? Ober let’s go veyter and see where else “seeing” or “gazing” or “casting one’s eyes” led to further trouble. In addition to the rape of Dinah, where Shechem laid eyes on Dina before laying himself all over her, our sages were able to investigate other crimes to find commonality. Soon (next week’s parsha) we will read how King Paroy laid his eyes on Soro (Avrom’s wife) and shoin. Soro was taken to the king’s boudoir where he had intended to show her his royal scepter, if you chap. What really happened, we don’t know as it’s not discussed. Let’s read the hint that caught the attention of our sages. Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 12:14-15), azoy:
|14. And it came to pass when Abram came to Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very pretty.||ידוַיְהִ֕י כְּב֥וֹא אַבְרָ֖ם מִצְרָ֑יְמָה וַיִּרְא֤וּ הַמִּצְרִים֙ אֶת־הָ֣אִשָּׁ֔ה כִּֽי־יָפָ֥ה הִ֖וא מְאֹֽד:|
|15. And Pharaoh’s princes saw her, and they praised her to Pharaoh, and the woman was taken to the house of Pharaoh.||טווַיִּרְא֤וּ אֹתָהּ֙ שָׂרֵ֣י פַרְעֹ֔ה וַיְהַֽלֲל֥וּ אֹתָ֖הּ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה וַתֻּקַּ֥ח הָֽאִשָּׁ֖ה בֵּ֥ית פַּרְעֹֽה:|
The clues to nefarious activity are the words “…that the Egyptians saw the woman…”. And in the next posik “And Paroy’s princes saw her…” The bottom line: seeing is wanting, and seeing led to her being taken.
Ober wasn’t Soro taken a second time by a different king? Indeed she was. One parsha later, we will read that King Avimelech also summoned Soro to his palace. Let’s read that posik as well. Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 20:2-3), azoy:
|2. And Abraham said about Sarah his wife, “She is my sister,” and Abimelech the king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.||בוַיֹּ֧אמֶר אַבְרָהָ֛ם אֶל־שָׂרָ֥ה אִשְׁתּ֖וֹ אֲחֹ֣תִי הִ֑וא וַיִּשְׁלַ֗ח אֲבִימֶ֨לֶךְ֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ גְּרָ֔ר וַיִּקַּ֖ח אֶת־שָׂרָֽה:|
|3. And God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and He said to him, “Behold you are going to die because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a married woman.”||גוַיָּבֹ֧א אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶל־אֲבִימֶ֖לֶךְ בַּֽחֲל֣וֹם הַלָּ֑יְלָה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֗וֹ הִנְּךָ֥ מֵת֙ עַל־הָֽאִשָּׁ֣ה אֲשֶׁר־לָקַ֔חְתָּ וְהִ֖וא בְּעֻ֥לַת בָּֽעַל:|
Note that neither Avimelech or his servants are described as first seeing Soro before taking Soro and our sages therefore determined that the circumstances were quite different. In fact, the heylige Toirah goes out of tis way to tell us that Avimelech did not come near Soro. King Avimelech was not guilty of any sexual impropriety.
But wait! there more evidence. Let’s take a look at another myseh, this one involving Yoisef and his enslaver’s hot wife, Mrs. Potiphar. Recall that she too laid eyes on Yoisef. She wanted him. Let’s read posik 7 in perek 38:
|7. Now it came to pass after these events that his master’s wife lifted up her eyes to Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”
|זוַיְהִ֗י אַחַר֙ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וַתִּשָּׂ֧א אֵֽשֶׁת־אֲדֹנָ֛יו אֶת־עֵינֶ֖יהָ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֑ף וַתֹּ֖אמֶר שִׁכְבָ֥ה עִמִּֽי:|
But wait! Let’s go back to last week’s parsha where following the incident of the Niphilim, the RBSO concluded that “the evil of man was great in the earth and every imagination of his heart was only evil all the time.” Is that what happened? Indeed so; the above is an exact quote of Posik 5 in Perek six. Ober let’s read posik 2 for the evidence and context.
|2. That the sons of the nobles saw the daughters of man when they were beautifying themselves, and they took for themselves wives from whomever they chose.||בוַיִּרְא֤וּ בְנֵי־הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־בְּנ֣וֹת הָֽאָדָ֔ם כִּ֥י טֹבֹ֖ת הֵ֑נָּה וַיִּקְח֤וּ לָהֶם֙ נָשִׁ֔ים מִכֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּחָֽרוּ:|
The bottom lines: these sons of the nobles saw the daughters of man when they were beautifying themselves and they took for themselves form whomever they chose. Pshat being that they took forcibly and did so only after ‘seeing them.’ Seeing is wanting and wanting led to premediated actions.
The bottom line: in at least several instances in Sefer Bereishis, when we come across the words “he saw” or, “she saw or lifted her eyes,” they may be connected to a crime. Our sages seemingly connected the dots and determined -though the heylige Toirah is silent on Noiach- that Chom eyes led to trouble to include unwanted sexual relations and much worse with his own father. They accused him of sexual immorality by means of either rape or castration.
Another bottom line: Our sages of the heylige Gemora were convinced that all the protagonists mentioned in Sefer Bereishis had bad intentions and that their actions were premediated. Each first saw their victims and each then visualized their crime before acting on them. Crime solved and seemingly guilty as charged.
A gittin Shabbis-
The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv