D’var Torah for Parashat Noach 5781
Noah is the second portion of the Torah, Bereishit. Noah is ten generations from Adam and Eve. Hashem sees that humankind is wicked and decides to destroy them.
G-d wants to spare Noah who “walks with G-d”. Noah is a righteous man and deserves to be saved. G-d tells Noah to build an ark. The ark will hold Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives. The ark will hold two of each animal, male and female.
G-d then sends rain for forty days and forty nights that drowns all life on Earth. Noah, his family and the animals remain in the ark for another 150 days. Noah then first sends out a raven and then a dove to see if the earth is dry enough for them to exit the ark. The dove finally returns with a branch off an olive tree. Noah then sees that it is safe to leave the ark.
It was one complete solar cycle of 365 days until the Earth dried. G-d then establishes a covenant that the rainbow is a sign that Hashem will never again destroy humankind by a flood.
Noah plants a vineyard and gets drunk on wine, and falls asleep. Ham sees his father naked and tells his two brothers, Shem and Japhtheh. The latter two, without looking, cover Noah with a blanket. Ham is the father of the Canaanites, who will be slaves; Japheth is the father of Europeans and Shem is the father of Jews and Middle Easterners (“Semites”).
There are seventy nations who speak the same language. Nimrod, the first warrior king, has everyone build a tower of Babel (Babylon) to reach to Heaven. Hashem sees the presumptiveness and arrogance of mankind and confounds their speech by making them all speak different languages.