Noach 5779

Friday, October 12, 2018

There is a misconception regarding Noach's curse to his grandson, Canaan. After Noach awakes from his drunken state, he realizes what Ham did to him; he decides to curse Ham's son, Canaan. He is to be a slave to his brothers, Cush, Mitzrayim and Put. However, states the Ibn Ezra, many people claim that this explains why African nations, originally from Cush, became slaves. He points out that the very first king after the flood was Nimrod, Cush's son. If there really was a curse on them, how could they become leaders of their land? Therefore there is no justification for the formation of slavery during colonial times. The curse was for Canaan, not Cush's.

Bereishit 5776

Friday, October 5, 2018

The story of "Bnei elohim" is perplexing to say the least. The Orach Chaim (6:3) does note that Midrashim attempt to interpret this story, but the literal context is still unclear. However, it seems that as a result of whatever occurred Hashem decided to alter the way He interacted with Mankind. At first, Hashem would interact directly with Adam and Eve, as well as their children and the snake. Once human beings began to really degrade themselves with sin, He stopped speaking with them directly.
Originally, everyone was at a level of prophecy. This allowed them the privilege of speaking with Hashem just as Moshe did. But once they began to be "chal" (6:1), they lost that level of holiness. The only exceptions then were Tzaddikim, righteous individuals. When the Temple was destroyed, there was no more prophecy; only Divine inspiration remained. Sadly, we as a nation can't even reach that level of Divine inspiration anymore due to our sins.
This punishment of our declining connection with Hashem stems from the generation of the flood. They began committing adultery, which is what the verse refers to with "flesh" (6:3). This might be why the verse specifies the actions of the rulers as well. This sin was rampant even among the esteemed leaders at the time.
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