GrowTorah Core Value: Tzedakah

Lesson Title: Seeding a Community

In Parshat Noach Hashem tells Noach to build an ark for the upcoming flood. Noach builds an ark and collects all species of animal to preserve during the flood. After the flood Hashem makes a brit with Noach and future humanity with a rainbow as a sign. Noach plants a vineyard and becomes a worker of the land.

(כ) וַיָּ֥חֶל נֹ֖חַ אִ֣ישׁ הָֽאֲדָמָ֑ה וַיִּטַּ֖ע כָּֽרֶם׃

(20) Noah, the tiller of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard.

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

How does the description of Noach in this verse contrast with his better known reputation in the context of the flood?

  • first protecting/saving, now rebuilding
  • change in identity
  • tilling as a repetition from Bereishit, "To till and tend"

(א)וַיִּטַּע כָּרֶם. זֶה אֶחָד מֵאַרְבָּעָה שֶׁהִתְחִילוּ בְּאַרְבָּעָה דְבָרִים. נֹחַ הִתְחִיל בִּנְטִיעָה, דִּכְתִיב: וַיִּטַּע כָּרֶם.

(1) And he planted a vineyard (Gen. 9:20). Noah was one of four men who introduced four things. Noah introduced planting, as it is written: And he planted a vineyard;

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

How does Noach's role compare with Adam's actions in the Garden of Eden?

  • Genesis 2.15 "To till it and tend it", Genesis 1.28 "fill the earth and master it"

What activities that we've done in our own gardens do you think Noach also had to do?

  • sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting

Living the Lesson

(א) ויחל נח. אמר שנח נטע כרם לא כדי לשכור ולסבאה, רק מצד שהיה איש האדמה, ר"ל אדון של האדמה שכל האדמה היתה שלו והיה מוטל עליו לעבדה ולהכינה, ונח היה בקי ואומן במלאכת האדמה ונטע כרם לטובת כלל הישוב, שהגפן חשוב וקובע ברכה לעצמו:

It says that Noach planted a vineyard not for the purpose of selling or sustenance, rather because he was a man of the land, which is to say the master of the land because all of the earth was his, and was dependent on him to work it and to prepare it. And Noach was an expert and craftsman in working the land and he planted a vineyard for the benefit of settling the land because grape is important and establishes blessing to itself.

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

What was Noach's intentions in beginning to plant?

-to fill/rebuild the earth; natural inclination; to settle the land

How are we carrying on his legacy in our gardens?

-we are not only planting for selling/sustenance, but for learning and growth

-multiple reasons to plant gardens

-dependent on us to be responsible for the earth

GrowTorah Core Value: Cultivating compassion for all creatures

Lesson Title: Caring for the Animals of the Ark

(כא) וְאַתָּ֣ה קַח־לְךָ֗ מִכָּל־מַֽאֲכָל֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יֵֽאָכֵ֔ל וְאָסַפְתָּ֖ אֵלֶ֑יךָ וְהָיָ֥ה לְךָ֛ וְלָהֶ֖ם לְאָכְלָֽה׃

(21) For your part, take of everything that is eaten and store it away, to serve as food for you and for them.”

(א) ואתה עתה קח מכל מאכל. מאכלים שונים למינים שונים:
(1) ואתה קח לך מכל מאכל, different menus for different species of creatures.

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

How did Hashem's instructions to Noach account for the diversity of animals aboard the Ark?

  • proper preparation and instructions

Do we see similar preferences of different creatures for certain foods in our gardens?

  • birds vs bugs

How is Noach exercising compassion for creatures with his food selection?

  • diverse diets leads to healthy and happy animals
  • one does not fit all

What does this teach us about proper care and respect towards animals?

  • monocropping and corn to farm animals

רב חנא בר ביזנא אמר ליה אליעזר לשם רבא כתיב למשפחותיהם יצאו מן התיבה אתון היכן הויתון א"ל צער גדול היה לנו בתיבה בריה שדרכה להאכילה ביום האכלנוה ביום שדרכה להאכילה בלילה האכלנוה בלילה האי זקיתא לא הוה ידע אבא מה אכלה יומא חד הוה יתיב וקא פאלי רמונא נפל תולעתא מינה אכלה מיכן ואילך הוה גביל לה חיזרא כי מתלע אכלה

Rav Ḥana bar Bizna says: Eliezer, servant of Abraham, said to Shem the Great, son of Noah: It is written: “After their kinds, they emerged from the ark,” indicating that the different types of animals were not intermingled while in the ark. Where were you and what did you do to care for them while they were in the ark? Shem said to him: We experienced great suffering in the ark caring for the animals. Where there was a creature that one typically feeds during the day, we fed it during the day, and where there was a creature that one typically feeds at night, we fed it at night. With regard to that chameleon, my father did not know what it eats. One day, my father was sitting and peeling a pomegranate. A worm fell from it and the chameleon ate it. From that point forward my father would knead bran with water, and when it became overrun with worms, the chameleon would eat it.

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

How did Noach's care for the animals aboard the ark fulfill Hashem's command to him?

  • giving the animals multiple option for food for the healthiest diet
  • nourishing and caring for the animals, going above and beyond

Living the Lesson

(ג) אָדָם נִכְנָס בַּסְּפִינָה עָמַד עָלָיו סַעַר, אִם יֵשׁ עִמּוֹ בְּהֵמָה וְכֵלִים, מְזָרְקָן לַיָּם וּמְקַיְּמִין אֶת הָאָדָם, שֶׁאֵין מְרַחֲמִין עַל הַבְּהֵמָה וְכֵלִים כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמְּרַחֲמִין עַל הָאָדָם. אֲבָל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כְּשֵׁם שֶׁרַחֲמָיו עַל הָאָדָם, כָּךְ רַחֲמָיו עַל הַבְּהֵמָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְרַחֲמָיו עַל כָּל מַעֲשָׂיו (תהלים קמה, ט). וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר, וַיִּזְכּר אֱלֹהִים אֶת נֹחַ וְגוֹ'.

(3) If a storm should arise after a man boards ship, they hurl the animals and all his possessions into the sea, only the man is saved. Those in charge of the vessel do not have the same concern for the man’s animals and possessions as they have for the man himself, but the Holy One, blessed be He, is as concerned for the beast as for the man, as is said: And His tender mercies are over all His works (Ps. 145:9). Hence, Scripture says: And God remembered Noah and every living thing (Gen. 8:1).

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

In our gardens, how can we emulate Hashem through our consideration for other creatures?

  • how do we humanely deal with pests and bugs?
  • what are ways to avoid killing bugs in the garden?
אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם בניך שמו פניהם עלי שאני כבן בית לפניך נשבע אני בשמך הגדול שאיני זז מכאן עד שתרחם על בניך התחילו גשמים מנטפין אמרו לו תלמידיו רבי ראינוך ולא נמות כמדומין אנו שאין גשמים יורדין אלא להתיר שבועתך
Ḥoni said before God: Master of the Universe, Your children have turned their faces toward me, as I am like a member of Your household. Therefore, I take an oath by Your great name that I will not move from here until you have mercy upon Your children and answer their prayers for rain. Rain began to trickle down, but only in small droplets. His students said to him: Rabbi, we have seen that you can perform great wonders, but this quantity of rain is not enough to ensure that we will not die. It appears to us that a small amount of rain is falling only to enable you to dissolve your oath, but it is not nearly enough to save us.
אמר לא כך שאלתי אלא גשמי בורות שיחין ומערות ירדו בזעף עד שכל טפה וטפה כמלא פי חבית ושיערו חכמים שאין טפה פחותה מלוג אמרו לו תלמידיו רבי ראינוך ולא נמות כמדומין אנו שאין גשמים יורדין אלא לאבד העולם
Ḥoni said to God: I did not ask for this, but for rain to fill the cisterns, ditches, and caves. Rain began to fall furiously, until each and every drop was as big as the mouth of a barrel, and the Sages estimated that no drop was less than a log in size. His students said to him: Rabbi, we have seen that you can call on God to perform miracles and we will not die, but now it appears to us that rain is falling only to destroy the world.
אמר לפניו לא כך שאלתי אלא גשמי רצון ברכה ונדבה ירדו כתיקנן עד שעלו כל העם להר הבית מפני הגשמים אמרו לו רבי כשם שהתפללת שירדו כך התפלל וילכו להם אמר להם כך מקובלני שאין מתפללין על רוב הטובה
Ḥoni again said before God: I did not ask for this harmful rain either, but for rain of benevolence, blessing, and generosity. Subsequently, the rains fell in their standard manner, until all of the people sought higher ground and ascended to the Temple Mount due to the rain. They said to him: Rabbi, just as you prayed that the rains should fall, so too, pray that they should stop. He said to them: This is the tradition that I received, that one does not pray over an excess of good.

GUIDING QUESTIONS

What does this midrash teach us about working within God's boundaries?

How can we make sure to give the garden the nutrients that it needs?

(ט) וַאֲנִ֕י הִנְנִ֥י מֵקִ֛ים אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֖י אִתְּכֶ֑ם וְאֶֽת־זַרְעֲכֶ֖ם אַֽחֲרֵיכֶֽם׃ (י) וְאֵ֨ת כָּל־נֶ֤פֶשׁ הַֽחַיָּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתְּכֶ֔ם בָּע֧וֹף בַּבְּהֵמָ֛ה וּֽבְכָל־חַיַּ֥ת הָאָ֖רֶץ אִתְּכֶ֑ם מִכֹּל֙ יֹצְאֵ֣י הַתֵּבָ֔ה לְכֹ֖ל חַיַּ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (יא) וַהֲקִמֹתִ֤י אֶת־בְּרִיתִי֙ אִתְּכֶ֔ם וְלֹֽא־יִכָּרֵ֧ת כָּל־בָּשָׂ֛ר ע֖וֹד מִמֵּ֣י הַמַּבּ֑וּל וְלֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֥ה ע֛וֹד מַבּ֖וּל לְשַׁחֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (יב) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים זֹ֤את אֽוֹת־הַבְּרִית֙ אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִ֣י נֹתֵ֗ן בֵּינִי֙ וּבֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וּבֵ֛ין כָּל־נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתְּכֶ֑ם לְדֹרֹ֖ת עוֹלָֽם׃ (יג) אֶת־קַשְׁתִּ֕י נָתַ֖תִּי בֶּֽעָנָ֑ן וְהָֽיְתָה֙ לְא֣וֹת בְּרִ֔ית בֵּינִ֖י וּבֵ֥ין הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (יד) וְהָיָ֕ה בְּעַֽנְנִ֥י עָנָ֖ן עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וְנִרְאֲתָ֥ה הַקֶּ֖שֶׁת בֶּעָנָֽן׃ (טו) וְזָכַרְתִּ֣י אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֗י אֲשֶׁ֤ר בֵּינִי֙ וּבֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וּבֵ֛ין כָּל־נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה בְּכָל־בָּשָׂ֑ר וְלֹֽא־יִֽהְיֶ֨ה ע֤וֹד הַמַּ֙יִם֙ לְמַבּ֔וּל לְשַׁחֵ֖ת כָּל־בָּשָֽׂר׃
(9) “I now establish My covenant with you and your offspring to come, (10) and with every living thing that is with you—birds, cattle, and every wild beast as well—all that have come out of the ark, every living thing on earth. (11) I will maintain My covenant with you: never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (12) God further said, “This is the sign that I set for the covenant between Me and you, and every living creature with you, for all ages to come. (13) I have set My bow in the clouds, and it shall serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. (14) When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, (15) I will remember My covenant between Me and you and every living creature among all flesh, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.