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Noah: The Flood and the Rainbow
Video 5 of 22
So that would take us to the beginning of Chapter 9, so let's look at the beginning of Chapter 9 in Genesis and see what we find.
Turns out we find this, indeed G-d's speech to Noah after leaving the ark. What we want to do is just chart through the speech and ask ourselves does this remind us of anything in G-d's speech to Adam back on Day 6 of creation? So let's go through it and see. Remember, one of the themes - the beginning theme with G-d's speech to Adam and Eve - was be fruitful and multiply. Over here in Chapter 9 - beginning of Chapter 9, Chapter 9, verse 1; Vayevarech Elokim et Noach - G-d blessed Noach and his children and said to them; Pru u'revu - be fruitful and multiply; U'mile'u et ha'aretz - and fill the earth. This is exactly the same language that we had back with Adam and Eve. If you actually compare it side by side you'll see exactly the same language; Pru u'revu u'mile'u et ha'aretz - that's G-d speaking to Adam, and G-d speaking to Noah; Pru u'revu u'mile'u et ha'aretz. It's exactly the same words, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. Exactly the same, remarkable.
And by the way, the verb over here, the same. Vayevarech otam Elokim - and G-d blessed them, that's what G-d did with Adam and Eve. Over here G-d blessed Noah and his sons, saying be fruitful and multiply.
Okay, so element 1 matches up, let's continue with the elements and see. So we'll just continue with these two side by side and see what we find. Remember the next element was that G-d said that you're going to have dominion over the animal world. Remember over the fish, aquatic life, avian life, terrestrial life, you're going to have dominion over all of these. In Hebrew the language was; Vekivshuha - you'll have dominion. What do we have over here? Umora'achem vechitchem yiheye al kol chayat ha'aretz - the fear of you, the fear of mankind and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon all the fowl of the air. It sure sounds a lot like dominion. It's very, very similar.
Similar by the way but not exactly the same. What has changed over here? What has changed in this world as we migrate over to this world? Over here we talk about dominion, what gets mentioned here that doesn't get mentioned there? The answer is fear. No one said anything about fear back in Adam's world. This seems to be a new advent, something which is just coming to the world now, the idea that the animals will fear you. Why will the animals fear you? What changed? Why are the animals going to fear you?
Well let's look at the next element in the speeches. Back over here in the speech to Adam the next thing we heard is what does everyone eat? First we hear what the humans eat, we hear what the animals eat - what do the humans eat? Well I've given them every herb-yielding seed, I've given all the grasses and all the vegetation, that's what I've given to mankind and the animals also. By implication what can't people eat? What they can't eat is this stuff, they can't actually eat the animals, they can't eat the animal world, they can only eat the vegetative world. Well look at the next speech, the speech of G-d to Noah. Your fear will be upon all of the animals of the world; Kol remess asher hu chai lachem yiheye l'achlah - all living thing, every moving thing that it alive, you're allowed to eat, you can now eat meat. Things have changed. All of a sudden people can eat meat. Of course, if you can eat meat, then the animals are going to fear you.
Now we get to something remarkable, element number 4. Element number 4 was down here. Remember the last element of G-d's speech to Adam was that the animals will also eat vegetation? I want you to pay attention to that word vegetation. I pointed it out to you before. The word over here is Yerek Eisev. The animals will eat; V'yerek eisev - over here, the green herbs they're calling it. Really Yerek as I mentioned before is vegetable, Eisev is grasses, sort of vegetative grasses. So tomatoes, cabbage, stuff like that. So the animals will eat Yerek Eisev just like you. Both you and animals will eat Yerek Eisev. Turns out that that's exact same word Yerek Eisev is going to show up sort of as an element 4 - or at least as an element 3b in this speech.
You see the word right over here. But now listen to its use. Kol remess asher hu chai lachem yiheye l'achlah - every moving thing, all animals, you are going to be able to eat in this new world. How are you going to be able to eat them? K'yerek eisev - you're going to eat them just like the green herbs, just like the vegetative grasses; Natati lachem et kol - I've given you everything. So what happens is that in this world both animals and man eat Yerek Eisev, but something is changed in this world. In this world you eat the animals just like you and the animals both used to eat Yerek Eisev, which is to say, animals are just like vegetation.
Finally, the fourth element - if we call this element sort of 3b, so the fourth element here, the last element is; Ach basar benafsho damo loh tocheilu - only, except, flesh with the life thereof which is the blood thereof you shall not eat. Very strange in English exactly what this means, but in Hebrew it's a little bit simpler. Basar benafsho - which is that an animal while it's still alive, while it still has its living blood in it and a live animal you can't eat. The way that's traditionally been interpreted, it means that you're not allowed to eat what's known as Eiver Min Hachai. I'll just spell that for you in Hebrew up here; Eiver Min Hachai. What Eiver Min Hachai means is you're not allowed to eat a limb from a living animal. You just can't pick off a limb and eat it.
If you think about it, that actually follows from what was said in verse 3. Because in verse 3 we saw that you're allowed to eat animals the same way you could eat vegetation before, but now that's being qualified. G-d is saying well you can't really eat them like vegetation, right? When you eat vegetation what do you do? You just pick and eat, right? You can pick a grape and you can eat it. But when it comes to animals you can't just pick and eat, you can't say, mmm that's a nice tail, that's a nice leg, I think I'm going to pick off that leg and eat it. No, you have to kill the animal first. So you must kill the animal before eating.
But what's fascinating about this, is that everything which we hear about over here is relating to stuff over here. It's not exactly the same but it's relating to it, down to the Yerek Eisev. Things are changing. How are they changing? Let's just chart it out over here. Be fruitful and multiply - the same in both stories. Have dominion over animals - kind of changes. The nature of the dominion changes. Over here you can work the animals, over here it's you can't just work them, the animals are going to fear you - why are they going to fear you? Because you can eat them. Over here you used to just eat vegetation, now you're going to eat the animals just like you and the animals used to eat the vegetation. Over here the animals are going to eat the vegetation too, but over here you're going to be eating animals not exactly like vegetation, you're going to have to kill them before eating.
But it seems like this whole world, this whole speech, is referencing this speech - but getting back to our question, is it the same world? Has G-d re-created the same world after the flood? The answer seems to be emphatically no. It's not the same world, it's different. Mankind's relationship to the animal world, to nature around him, has changed, it is different now.
If you view it pictorially, you can imagine, draw a line between what we might call Adam's world over here and Noah's world. So all right, here's Adam and Eve, here's people, and in that world we were told that what do we eat? We eat vegetation. We eat the Yerek Eisev - here's the Yerek Eisev, these vegetative grasses. So this is what we're going to eat in this world and by implication, we are not going to eat animals. Where are the animals over here? The animals are right here, they, along with us, are consumers of the Yerek Eisev. That changes. We change. Our place in the world changes in Noah's world. In Noah's world what are we doing? We're told that the animals are going to fear us. Why? Because we are going to be able to eat the animals. How are we going to eat them? We are going to eat them the way we used to just consume these vegetables. Not exactly the way we used to consume vegetables, no picking and eating, you have to kill the animal first, but that is how we're going to relate. So somehow the position of mankind has changed, we have kind of occupied a higher rank in this world. It's somehow we have greater dominion, greater power in Noah's world.
Now the question which we need to consider is why? What has changed that all of a sudden mankind's position in the world has changed? How do we understand the nature of this? Why do we have this greater power - greater executive authority somehow in this new world? I think it's a fascinating question. I want to come back to it in our next talk together, I'll see you then.
1. Water, Water Everywhere
2. Parallel Universes
4. The Sixth Day
5. Brave New World
6. Noah's World
7. Is There a 'Sabbath' in Noah's World?
8. Sabbath Echoes
9. Rainbows Have Seven Colors
10. A Bow In the Clouds
12. Chiasms: More Than Just a Pretty Face
13. Colors of the Rainbow
14. Numeric Centers; Thematic Centers
15. Taking Stock: Where Are We Now?
16. Sabbath's Center
17. How Tiring Was It To Create a World?
18. Rest As the Purpose of Work?
19. Positive Rest
20. What If a Parent Never Lets Go?
21. Conclusion: Two Ways to Destoy a World
22. Epilogue: Why the Rainbow Covenant is a Two-Way Street (Premium)
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