After all, a window was clearly part of the Ark's structure, as we see from:

Genesis 6:16:

צֹ֣הַר׀ תַּעֲשֶׂ֣ה לַתֵּבָ֗ה וְאֶל־אַמָּה֙ תְּכַלֶ֣נָּה מִלְמַ֔עְלָה וּפֶ֥תַח הַתֵּבָ֖ה בְּצִדָּ֣הּ תָּשִׂ֑ים תַּחְתִּיִּ֛ם שְׁנִיִּ֥ם וּשְׁלִשִׁ֖ים תַּֽעֲשֶֽׂהָ׃

A light shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

רש"י על בראשית ו, טז 1 צהר. יש אומרים חלון, ויש אומרים אבן טובה המאירה להם:

(According to one opinion, the צֹ֣הַר means a window...)

And further from:

Genesis 8:6:

וַֽיְהִ֕י מִקֵּ֖ץ אַרְבָּעִ֣ים י֑וֹם וַיִּפְתַּ֣ח נֹ֔חַ אֶת־חַלּ֥וֹן הַתֵּבָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָֽׂה׃

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made.

Even after Noach's dispatching of the dove, Noach apparently was completely sure that the land was dry, as we see from:

Genesis 8:13:

וַֽ֠יְהִי בְּאַחַ֨ת וְשֵׁשׁ־מֵא֜וֹת שָׁנָ֗ה בָּֽרִאשׁוֹן֙ בְּאֶחָ֣ד לַחֹ֔דֶשׁ חָֽרְב֥וּ הַמַּ֖יִם מֵעַ֣ל הָאָ֑רֶץ וַיָּ֤סַר נֹ֙חַ֙ אֶת־מִכְסֵ֣ה הַתֵּבָ֔ה וַיַּ֕רְא וְהִנֵּ֥ה חָֽרְב֖וּ פְּנֵ֥י הָֽאֲדָמָֽה׃

And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dried.

Noach only ruled that it was safe to venture out upon seeing the dry land, so, again, why not just peek out of the window? (I fear I'm missing something basic here, but this very much troubled me during my shnayim mikra this week.)

  • 1
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, and +1 for the interesting question. Oct 23, 2014 at 3:19
  • @ShmuelWise this Torah Temimah on bottom may be of help as well hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14052&st=&pgnum=86
    – sam
    Oct 26, 2014 at 15:34
  • Were you directing me to his comment that there were many windows and doors? (I saw a similar point in the Ibn Ezra btw) If so this seems to strengthen the question. Is that what you mean? Oct 26, 2014 at 15:39
  • @shmuelwise It was twofold,one that acc to one who holds its a stone he didn't look out because like lot he was worthy of being saved but not worthy to see the destruction, and one might be able to say this by windows mamash maybe,and also the idea of having many windows which is a separate point ,why did they need so much ,who said they didn't look out
    – sam
    Oct 26, 2014 at 18:50
  • @sam ah very interesting. Thanks for sharing Oct 26, 2014 at 20:11

2 Answers 2


The "window" was in the top of the Ark. (Ibn Ezra says this explicitly on 6:16, but I think it is generally agreed upon.) Looking up would not have helped much.

Sticking his head out of the top would not have been an option, since the opening was 1/6th of a cubit wide (Ibn Ezra there).

  • +1 I always assumed it was on the side with the sides being slanted upwards as we know it was. Gonna check out the Ibn Ezra soon.
    – user6591
    Oct 23, 2014 at 19:32
  • 1
    i like your answer but what is the Ibn Ezra's source Nov 22, 2016 at 1:26

You may be missing a nuance in the language the Torah uses for "drying". The word used in 8:13 is "charvu" which means "destroyed". Rashi gives a better explanation, there saying that it was like mortar / clay. Meaning, in practical terms, that it was too soft to walk on.

In the following verse, 14, the Torah uses the term, "Yavsha", which is the usual word for "dry", and, there, Rash"i explains this means that it was hard / solid as it normally is.

Verse 16 is when G-d specifically tells Noach that it's time to leave the ark. It is unclear if Noach would have done this on his own, anyway, and G-d is, in a sense confirming Noah's thoughts; Is it that Noah wasn't 100% sure if it was safe (there is no verse stating that Noah, himself saw that the ground was completely dry), or Noah knew definitely that it was dry but he was a faithful old man and awaited G-d's specific instructions telling hime what to do.

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    חרב can mean dry too. That's why חורב is in a desert and the Jews walked through the sea בחרבה.
    – Double AA
    Oct 23, 2014 at 18:59

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