Why is it that Noach sent out the birds to see if the flood had subsided, and when he did find out he just waited for Hashem to tell him to leave? Why send the birds if you are going to wait for Hashem to leave the ark anyway? And why did he not just ask Og who was hanging on outside as described in Pirkei R' Eliezer (23)?

  • Maybe he didn;t know that Og was hanging on? Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 13:55
  • Maybe Noah didn't believe in Midrashim or at least not Islamicly influenced ones.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


Rabbi Yonasan Grossman from Yeshiva Har Etzion explains as follows.

Although he may have been able to tell at Mount Ararat what the situation was, Noach also wanted to know what the situation was in locations that were further away.

Noach was waiting for Hashem to tell him to leave the Teivah, however he had to do something to show he was interested in leaving. Only after that did Hashem tell him to leave.

In addition, the world was as if created newly again. Just like when the world was originally created the birds were created before the people, the same here the birds went out before the people.


https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G4mjBnoIwiaXNs6_IFCW-_uKiLMuyEqp/view?usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GMvKuRwBdeDX8rCc7BYNK0DcI0jHYb9r/view?usp=sharing

I’ve wondered for years: What was the point of that whole thing with the birds? He wasn’t going yet anyhow! He was wasting his time.
The Lev Eliyahu, R’ Elya Lopian zt”l, was once waiting for a bus, he was learning. At some point, he turned his head to check for the bus. Then he snapped it right back, and groaned. His companion reported his words: “In Kelm, they would have given me such a potch for wasting my time and my attention. I’ll know when the bus comes!”
Could just be that Noach predated Kelm! But it bothers me.
Let me bring you a Rabbeinu Yonah in Shaarei Teshuva 1(2), who argues at length not to delay doing teshuvah

  • Oy I would do anything to grow up in an environment that produced me to be so focussed. Very nice story, and relevant, but could you spell out exactly how it answers the question?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 19:34
  • Note that the links have more than the quote.
    – MichoelR
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 19:50
  • 1
    Wow ok, yes have to hear the whole thing. Powerful answer, and message. Thanks for sharing!
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 23:30
  • @RabbiKaii By the way, this idea that the story of Noach is another story of "golus" and redemption is little exciting to me, because it gives me some hope that I might someday be able to read the account of the flood itself. Till now that was just a long opaque section to me, describing what was flooded and how long it took. Seen anything on that?
    – MichoelR
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 12:29
  • 1
    You've got me excited too. I vaguely remember something, I'll bli neder bring it if I remember. Ping me if you do too please :)
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 18:31

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