ויזכר אלהים את נח. היה ראוי הכתוב לומר את נח ואת בניו, שהרי מצינו דבור השכינה עמהם גם כן הוא שכתוב ויאמר אלהים אל נח ואל בניו. ויתכן לומר רבוי את בא לרבות בניו שהיו מכחו, וכמו שדרשו רז"ל את יעקב, אלו הבאים מכחו של יעקב. וכיון שפירש הכתוב הזכרון הזה בכח ורמז על הבנים, אף הנשים היו בכלל. ומה שהזכיר החיה והבהמה עמו יחדו, להורות שכולן שוין בהשגחה כללית, והוא הדין שהיה הזכרון בכל העוף אע"פ שלא הזכירם כי כל בעלי חיים בכלל הזכרון הם. או אולי מה שהזכיר בהמה וחיה דוקא ולא הזכיר העוף, לפי שהבהמה והחיה נבראו עם האדם ביום ששי, הוא שכתוב ויעש אלהים את כל חית הארץ למינה ואת הבהמה למינה, וזהו שאמר אשר אתו שהם בתיבה עמו. ויכלול ג"כ אשר אתו שנבראו ביום אחד עמו.
ויזכר אלוקים את נח, “G-d remembered Noach, etc.” It would have been more appropriate for the Torah to write that “G-d remembered Noach and his sons, etc.” After all, we know that they too were beneficiaries of His presence since the Torah wrote in 9,8 “G-d spoke to Noach and to his sons, etc.” Why then did the Torah here mention only Noach as the one to whom G-d spoke? It is possible to understand the word את in front of the word נח as a reference to his sons. This would certainly not be the first time that the word את is used as a רבוי, a word which alludes to something additional which the Torah had not spelled out in detail. Seeing that Noach’s sons were extensions of his own self, the Torah did not see fit to mention them separately at this stage. We find a similar occurrence in Exodus 1,1 where the Torah mentions את יעקב, and Shemot Rabbah interprets the word את as a reference to all the people who descended to Egypt because they were “extensions” of Yaakov. This meant that sons and wives were automatically included in the people whose fate G-d had “remembered.” As to the fact that the Torah specifically refers to the animals and all other creatures in the Ark with Noach, something which at first glance makes it appear as if their fates were of greater concern to G-d than that of Noach’s wife, his sons and their wives, this is not so. We distinguish between השגחה כללית, and השגחה פרטית, G-d’s general overall concern and supervision of their fate, and G-d’s specific individual supervision of someone’s fate. Whereas the animals, etc., qualified for G-d’s general concern, Noach and his family qualified for G-d’s specific concern. Hence the word את is an indication that G-d’s specific concern extended also to the members of Noach’s family.
Alternatively, the reason Torah chose to mention G-d’s concern for the domestic beasts and the free-roaming animals was to draw our attention to the fact that He displayed no such concern for the birds; hence the birds are not mentioned in this verse. The reason may have been that seeing that the mammals were all created on the sixth day of creation, i.e. the same day as man, they shared special consideration by G-d with man; the birds which had been created already on the fifth day did not enjoy this distinction. This may also be reflected in the wording אשר אתו בתיבה “who were with him in the Ark.” The Torah wanted to stress that there was something that man and the other mammals shared to the exclusion of other phenomena on earth, namely G-d’s especial concern for their fates. It is noteworthy that the same word את occurs in the narrative of the Torah when it describes both man’s and the mammal’s creation on the sixth day. Please compare Genesis 1,24-25. The words אשר אתו in our verse here may be an allusion to that verse in 1,24.