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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Parashat Noach 5775


Part I: Sources of Prayer

I wanted to present the sources surrounding the verse,  אֲדֹנָי שְׂפָתַי תִּפְתָּח, which we say before the Amidah, which is an addition of Rebbi Yochanan. The verses both proceeding and following it seem to speak greatly about the goal of adding this verse.
תהלים פרק נא
Psalms 51
(16) Save me from blood, God, God of my salvation may my tongue sing your righteousness.
(17) Lord, open my lips and my mouth will tell your praise.
(18) For you do not desire sacrifice, I and will give an unwanted olah.
(טז) הַצִּילֵנִי מִדָּמִים אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֵי תְּשׁוּעָתִי תְּרַנֵּן לְשׁוֹנִי צִדְקָתֶךָ:
(יז) אֲדֹנָי שְׂפָתַי תִּפְתָּח וּפִי יַגִּיד תְּהִלָּתֶךָ:
(יח) כִּי לֹא־תַחְפֹּץ זֶבַח וְאֶתֵּנָה עוֹלָה לֹא תִרְצֶה:

משלי פרק טז
Proverbs 16
(1) Preparations of the heart are for man, but from Hashem is the answer of the tongue.
(א) לְאָדָם מַעַרְכֵי־לֵב וּמֵיְקֹוָק מַעֲנֵה לָשׁוֹן:


Part II: Rules of Prayer

ערוך השולחן אורח חיים סימן צה
Arukh Ha’Shulhan, Oreh Hayim, 95
סעיף א
איתא בברכות [י':] המתפלל צריך שיכוין את רגליו זו אצל זו שנאמר ורגליהם רגל ישרה (יחזקאל פרק א) ששני הרגלים קראן רגל אחד [תר"י] וכיון שבהמלאכים כן לכן בתפלה שאנו כמדברים לפני המלך צריכין לעשות כן וכן בקדושה שאנו מקדישים כמלאכים ג"כ צריכין לכוין הרגלים וגם יש שבברכו נוהגין כן:
Se’if 1:
It says in Tractate B’rakhot, “One who prays needs to have her legs even with one another, as it says [about the angels], ‘Their legs were one straight leg.’ (Ezekiel 1)” For their two legs were called one leg. And since this is the case with angels, in prayer when it is as if  we are speaking before the King, we need to do so. And in the Kedushah where we sanctify [God] like the angels, we also need our legs together, and there are those who practice this with Bar’khu as well.
סעיף ג
כתב רבינו הרמ"א בשם הרוקח דכשעומד להתפלל ילך לפניו ג' פסיעות דרך קירוב והגשה לדבר שצריך לעשות עכ"ל וכן המנהג ורמז לדבר דמצינו בתנ"ך ג' פעמים הגשה לתפלה [בראשית יח, כג] ויגש אברהם [בראשית מד, יח] ויגש יהודה [מלכים א' יח, כא] ויגש אליהו [רוקח] ויש מי שכתב דכשעומד על מקומו א"צ לחזור לאחוריו ג' פסיעות כדי לילך לפניו [א"ר] ואין המנהג כן וכן נכון לעשות כי כל דבר של קדושה צריך הכנה והזמנה והמהרי"ל כשהגיע לתהלות לאל עליון היה נוהג לעמוד ובמנחה כשהש"ץ מתחיל קדיש וכן בערבית:
Se’if 3:
Our Rabbi, the Rema, wrote in the name of the Rokeah, that when one stands to pray he should walk three steps forward in a manner of approaching and closing distance to something he needs to do. Such is the practice, and we see a hint to in Tanakh in that there are three times where the term “approaching” is used for prayer. “Avraham approached,” (Breishit 18:23), “Yehuda approached,” (Breishit 44:18) and, “Elijah approached.” (M’lakhim 1, 18:21) And there is one who wrote that when one stands in his place there is no need to step backwards three steps in order to step forward, but this is not the custom, and it is proper to do so since all matters of sanctity require preparation and readying. The Maharil, when he got to, “supplications to God on high,” was accustomed to stand up, and during Minhah when the leader begins Kaddish, and so too in Arvit.



Part IV: Text Related to the Parasha

This source in the Book of Jubilees, which while not canonized is a good Rabbinic-like source, presents a link between when Noah left the ark, the oath (sh’vua) Hashem swears about not again destroying the world by flood, and the festival of weeks (Shavuot). It connects this with the allowance to eat meat. Whether or not there is a connection, there becomes a well known later tradition to eat dairy on the holiday of Shavuot.
Book of Jubilees, Chapter 6 (translated by R.H. Charles, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913)
1) And on the new moon of the third month he went forth from the ark, and built an altar on that mountain.
2) And he made atonement for the earth, and took a kid and made atonement by its blood for all the guilt of the earth; for everything that had been on it had been destroyed, save those that were in the ark with Noah...
6) And behold I have given unto you all beasts, and all winged things, and everything that moves on the earth, and the fish in the waters, and all things for food; as the green herbs, I have given you all things to eat.
7) But flesh, with the life thereof, with the blood, ye shall not eat; for the life of all flesh is in the blood, lest your blood of your lives be required. At the hand of every man, at the hand of every (beast) will I require the blood of man...
15) And He gave to Noah and his sons a sign that there should not again be a flood on the earth.
16) He set His bow in the cloud for a sign of the eternal covenant that there should not again be a flood on the earth to destroy it all the days of the earth.
17) For this reason it is ordained and written on the heavenly tablets, that they should celebrate the feast of weeks in this month once a year, to renew the covenant every year.
18) And this whole festival was celebrated in heaven from the day of creation till the days of Noah -twenty-six jubilees and five weeks of years [1309-1659 A.M.]: and Noah and his sons observed it for seven jubilees and one week of years, till the day of Noah's death, and from the day of Noah's death his sons did away with (it) until the days of Abraham, and they eat blood.
19) But Abraham observed it, and Isaac and Jacob and his children observed it up to thy days, and in thy days the children of Israel forgot it until ye celebrated it anew on this mountain.
20) And do thou command the children of Israel to observe this festival in all their generations for a commandment unto them: one day in the year in this month they shall celebrate the festival.
21) For it is the feast of weeks and the feast of first fruits: this feast is twofold and of a double nature: according to what is written and engraven concerning it, celebrate it.
22) For I have written in the book of the first law, in that which I have written for thee, that thou shouldst celebrate it in its season, one day in the year, and I explained to thee its sacrifices that the children of Israel should remember and should celebrate it throughout their generations in this month, one day in every year.

שולחן ערוך אורח חיים הלכות פסח סימן תצד
Shulchan Aruch OC 494
Section 3: Gloss: We are accustomed everywhere to eat dairy on the first day of Shavuot. And it seems to me that the reason is like the two cooked dishes that were taking on the evening of Pesach, in memory of the Paschal and Holiday sacrifices. So too we eat dairy and afterwards meat.
סעיף ג… הגה: ונוהגין בכל מקום לאכול מאכלי חלב ביום ראשון של שבועות; ונ"ל הטעם שהוא כמו השני תבשילין שלוקחים בליל פסח, זכר לפסח וזכר לחגיגה, כן אוכלים מאכל חלב ואח"כ מאכל בשר
Part V: On the Parasha from Chazal
In Parashat Noah, God promises to not allow the natural cycles of the world cease. The Rabbis, curiously, use this as the verse on which they base the idea that non-Jews cannot celebrate Shabbat. I find the Meiri’s explanation fascinating, especially in his acceptance that a non-Jew who makes such an attempt might actually mean well and that the issue at stake (which seems based on the Rambam) might have a good sense of the nervousness around breakoffs from Judaism.

בראשית פרשת נח פרק ח
Genesis 8
(22) For the rest of the days of the land the time for seeding and harvesting and summer and winter and day and night will not cease.
(כב) עֹד כָּל־יְמֵי הָאָרֶץ זֶרַע וְקָצִיר וְקֹר וָחֹם וְקַיִץ וָחֹרֶף וְיוֹם וָלַיְלָה לֹא יִשְׁבֹּתוּ:

תלמוד בבלי מסכת סנהדרין דף נח עמוד ב
ואמר ריש לקיש: נכרי ששבת - חייב מיתה, שנאמר +בראשית ח'+ ויום ולילה לא ישבתו…
אמר רבינא: אפילו שני בשבת.
And Resh Lakish said, a non-Jew who makes Shabbat is obligated for death, as it says (Breishit 8), “Day and night they will not cease.”
… Said Ravina, “Even [if he makes Shabbat] on Monday.”

שמות רבה (וילנא) פרשת בשלח פרשה כה
Exodus Rabbah, Parashat B’shalach, Parasha 25
“See that God gave you the Shabbat” (Shemot 16:29)... And what is “gave to you?”  To you it was given and not to non-Jews. From here they say that if non-Jews come and observe the Shabbat, it is not sufficient that they just do not receive a reward, as it says, “Day and night they shall not rest,” and it also says, “Between Me and the children of Israel.”
An allegory: to a king who sits and a lady sits opposite him, one who passed between them is obligated.
ראו כי ה' נתן לכם את השבת ... ומהו נתן לכם לכם נתנה ולא לעובדי כוכבים. מכאן אמרו אם יבואו מעובדי כוכבים וישמרו את השבת לא דיים שאין מקבלים שכר וכו' שנאמר (בראשית ח') ויום ולילה לא ישבותו וכן הוא אומר (שמות לא) ביני ובין בני ישראל וגו' משל למלך יושב ומטרונא יושבת כנגדו העובר ביניהם חייב.


בית הבחירה למאירי מסכת סנהדרין דף נט עמוד א
Rabbi Menachem Meiri, Tractate Sanhedrin, 59a
A Noahide who we see being pious and establishing for himself days of Sabbatical rest, or yom tov, is fit to be punished, even though he is not killed. Further, when he establishes for himself our yoke - which is what is hinted here about a non-Jew who rests - we punish him and say to him, either accept the yoke of the commandments, or don’t come up with novel religious practices from ours. Rather, even if he established for himself other days, as we said on Monday, we don’t leave him to create on it a holiday for himself to rest on it according to the rules of a holiday, for this appears as one from our nation and others will learn from him. But, for the other commandments we do not prevent him from them, for indeed they say to accept his sacrifices and righteousness.
בן נח שראינוהו מתחסד וקובע לעצמו ימי מנוחה שבת או יום טוב ראוי ליענש אע"פ שאינו נהרג ולא סוף דבר בשקובע את עצמו על שלנו והוא הרמוז כאן בגוי ששבת שעונשין אותו ואומרין לו או שיקבל עליו עול מצות או לא יחדש בנמוסיו משלנו אלא אף בשקבע לעצמו ימים אחרים כמו שאמרו כאן אף בשני בשבת שאין מניחין אותו לחדש בו ולקבוע יום חג לעצמו לשבות בו מתורת חג שזה נראה כמי שהוא מבני עמנו וילמדו אחרים הימנו. אבל שאר מצות אין מונעין הימנו שהרי אמרו לקבל קרבנותיו וצדקותיו

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