Ritual Wisdom 10-20-17

This Shabbat we will read the second reading in the Torah, Noach (Noah). In this reading, the Torah tells the story of the Great Flood and how only Noach and his family were saved in the Ark. The following are some interesting facts about the story of the Torah reading Noach..

There were a total of eight people in the ark; Noach, his wife; their three sons and their wives. In addition, to Noach and his immediate family, G-d commanded Noach to bring into the ark, one male and one female of every living species. Of the animals, which the Torah would later declare as kosher for the Jewish people to eat and for bringing sacrifices, he was to take seven pairs of each.

Q. What happened to the fish? How did they survive?

A. Fish were not required to be brought into the ark. They survived the Great Flood in the water. However, this too was a miracle as the water came with great force and was boiling hot.

Q. How long did it take Noach to build the Ark?

A. It took him 120 years. G-d's decree to bring the Flood and to wipe out every living being from the face of the earth, came about 120 years earlier. It was then that Noach was commanded to begin building the Ark.

Q. Why did G-d want the building of the Ark to last that long?

A. G-d wanted to give the people a chance to repent. Throughout the time Noach was building the ark, he would make everyone aware that a Great Flood was coming if they do not repent. For 120 years he was encouraging people to repent, but it didn't help.

Q. How old was Noach when his first son was born?

A. The oldest of Noach's three sons, Yefet, was born when Noach was 500 years old. Thus Yefet was 100 at the time of the Flood.

Q. How long did Noach live?

A. Noach's great-grandfather, Yered, lived 962 years. Noach's grandfather, Mesushelach, lived 969 years. Noach lived 950 years. The Torah tells us that He was 600 when he went into the ark and lived 350 years after emerging from the ark. One year was spent in the ark.

Q. If Noach was 600 when the Flood began and he spent one year in the ark and 350 after he emerged, then he should have been 951 when he died? What happened to the one year in the ark?

A. This is a questions the Torah commentaries struggle with. Some say that due to the great destruction that befell the world that year, it was not counted as a year in Noach's life.