16 votes
Accepted

Rainbows prior to the Mabul

According to Rav Saadya Gaon (commentary to Genesis 9:13) the rainbow was not a new phenomenon. Rather it was imbued with new meaning as the sign of the covenant. Similarly, Ramban, writes (commentary ...
  • 34.9k
15 votes
Accepted

Alternative version of Tower of Babel story

Found it in R. Yaakov Culi's Me'am Lo'ez Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer 24 says If a man fell and died they paid no heed to him, but if a brick fell they sat down and wept, and said: Woe is us ! when will ...
  • 166
14 votes

Why didn't Noach look out the window?

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 ...
12 votes

Sarah is Abraham's sister?

There is a Midrash (Megillah 14a) that Sarah was really the same as Yiskah (from Gen 11:28), which would make her Avraham's niece, which is pretty close to a sister. However, Ibn Ezra (Gen 20:12) ...
  • 95.7k
12 votes
Accepted

What does it mean that God "remembers" something?

Rav Sa'adya Gaon writes in Emunot V'deot (Ma'amar 2 s.v. v'hinei ani) that in reference to God, remembrance refers to salvation: ובהצלת הברואים מענין שמצער אותם קוראים אותו זכירה, שאמרו (בראשית ח' ...
  • 34.9k
11 votes

Were there cockroaches on the ark?

Great question! Apparently, 2 cockroaches were on the ark. Breishit (Gen.) 6:20 mentions "all that crawls on the land". I would include insects in that category. Apparently, they made it out of the ...
  • 69k
11 votes

Why is it important that God created the first pair of tongs?

As quoted here from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the theological significance of tongs is that they are preparatory - they exist for the purpose of making something else - and the idea of G-d creating them ...
  • 31.4k
11 votes
Accepted

What prevented the antediluvian humanity from using ships against the Flood?

There are several reasons as pointed out by Rav Sorotzkin, Rav Hirsch and others. First of all, they could not have stored sufficient food to last for the entire flood. The flood lasted for an entire ...
  • 42.1k
11 votes

Rainbows prior to the Mabul

Rav Hirsch writes on Noach 9:12 It is by no means necessary to assume that hitherto there had been no rainbow and to place it in connection with the atmospheric changes which occurred after the ...
  • 42.1k
10 votes
Accepted

How Come Noah's wife's name is not recorded in the Bible

The Midrash Genesis Rabbah (ed. Albeck: B'reshit 23) quotes R. Abba bar Kahana stating that Na'amah, the sister of Tuval-Kayin (see Genesis 4:22), was the wife of Noah, and she was called Na'amah (lit....
  • 34.9k
8 votes

What is the meaning of the word "mabul"?

As far as I can tell from searching on Sefaria and AlHatorah, מבול appears 12 times in Tanach, and every instance refers to the Waters of Noach. The only appearance of the word outside Parashat Noach ...
  • 46.9k
8 votes

Why was Noach the person to save the animals?

I think it is related to the fact that he was then allowed to eat the animals (after the mabul). If they don't owe man their lives, why would man be allowed to take their lives for his needs? Edit: I ...
  • 87
7 votes

What prevented the antediluvian humanity from using ships against the Flood?

Their own stubbornness. (As Monica said in a comment.) Note similarly in Exodus, Moses warns the Egyptians that anyone/anything left outside will be stricken by hailstones. Some Egyptians are willing ...
  • 127k
7 votes
Accepted

What happened to the Teva after the flood?

The Yalkut Shimoni to Ester (1056) states the God preserved the ark (or at least part of it) as a remembrance of the deluge for future generations, and Haman's son sent him a 50 cubit beam from it ...
  • 34.9k
7 votes
Accepted

No Flood in Israel?

It is a dispute in Bereishis Rabbah 33:6 whether Eretz Yisrael was flooded. According to R’ Beivai, who holds that it was flooded, the inhabitants obviously died. According to R’ Abba bar Kahana and R’...
  • 33.5k
7 votes
Accepted

Did Noach live 950 years or 951 years

Copying from YEZ’s answer to the related question of whether Moshe was 120 or 121: The Da'as Zkeinim (and the Chizkuni) at the beginning of Parshas Noach addresses this issue in a different ...
7 votes

What percentage of the humanity must sin to cause G-d to wipe them all?

10 righteous people (or 9, rounding up) were required to prevent the destruction of humanity. Noach and crew were only 8, therefore they could not save the world. Clearly, by the standard that G-d was ...
  • 6,713
7 votes

Why did animals need to eat/be fed for a year in the Ark?

R Ari Wasserman explains the ark was a "chesed school" and that feeding animals became the mechanism to teach Noah and his family a value which would be fundamental to the new world being created. ...
  • 43.9k
7 votes

Why were Mabul rains for 40 days?

Rashi to Genesis 7:4 explains that it's because of their sin of adultery: ארבעים יום. כְּנֶגֶד יְצִירַת הַוָּלָד, שֶׁקִּלְקְלוּ לְהַטְרִיחַ לְיוֹצְרָם לָצוּר צוּרַת מַמְזֵרִים "Forty days" – ...
  • 33.5k
6 votes
Accepted

Proliferation of species after the flood

Rabbi Sorotzkin in Oznayim Latorah (Insights to the Torah) says that Noach continued to feed all the animals for the year after they left the teivah. In Noach 8:17, Hashem gives a bracha which ...
  • 42.1k
6 votes
Accepted

Same phrase in two places, one uses dageish and one doesn't -- why?

The trick here is the cantillation on the previous word. If the cantillation is conjunctive (and the ultimate syllable is open), then the dagesh will drop. If the cantillation is disjunctive (ie ...
  • 95.7k
6 votes
Accepted

Why does אבות cite Gen. 9, not Gen. 1, for נברא בצלם?

It seems to me that the key is "חִבָּה יְתֵרָה נוֹדַעַת לוֹ שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם" In Bereishit 9, G-d is directly commanding mankind not to kill people, because they were created in the image of G-d. ...
  • 42.9k
6 votes

Tower of Babel - Rocketship?

See here for a full explanation of Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz's idea of the generation attempting to build a tower so high it would reach beyond the gravitational pull of the Earth. Then, they planned to ...
  • 12.6k
6 votes

Genesis Chapter 9 : 3 Meaning

Rabbeinu Bachya on this verse says as follows Bereshit 9:3 כירק עשב נתתי לכם את כל. ממה שהזכיר נתתי לכם את כל הייתי מתיר כל בשר כדעת האומות, לכך הוצרך לומר כירק עשב, כשם שיש בעשבים חלק מותר שהם טובים ...
  • 6,869
6 votes

Genesis Chapter 9 : 3 Meaning

There are the Noahide Laws that applied to all of humanity, post-Flood. Pre-Flood, humans weren't allowed to eat animals. Post-Flood, "any animal is fair game, just like the plants you ate until ...
  • 127k
5 votes

Why did the Dor Hamabul earn a painless death?

See Rabbi Hirsch chapter 6 vs 17. Seems Hashem only used this term to ease Noach's mind while being left to imagine the impending death of millions.
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5 votes

Why did the Dor Hamabul earn a painless death?

For Ch. 6:17 the Torah Sheleimah Vol 2 page 408 note 198 brings the Medrash Raba that VaYigva here means to shrivel. For Ch. 7:21 the Torah Sheleimah Vol 2 page 429 note 79 brings the question and ...
5 votes

What was the sin of the builders of the tower of Bavel?

The Rasa"g (probably based on the simple reading of Perek 11, Passuk 4) explains that their sin was that they wanted to stay in one singular area and not filling the earth as Hashem commanded them ...
5 votes

Were there more than just 2 or 7 pairs of animals on Noach's ark?

As pointed out by many meforshim, the food in the teivah was provided miraculously. Rabbi Sorotzkin in Oznayim Latorah 6:21 (answer 3) says It is known that the Ark's provisions were insufficient ...
  • 42.1k
5 votes

Rainbows prior to the Mabul

Ramban (Chapter 9, Verse 12) argues that the rainbow existed before the Mabul. However, only after the Mabul did Hashem select it to serve as a sign of His covenant to not cause another Mabul. The ...
  • 6,588

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