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They Scoffed at Noach Too! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tzvi Fishman   
Sunday, 26 October 2014

Question: Don’t you think that over-emphasizing sex is making a mountain out of a mole hill?

Answer: They scoffed at Noach too! They ridiculed him. They laughed. No one paid any attention to his warnings. For 120 years, he worked on building the ark, so that people would pass by and ask what he was doing, giving them a chance to repent.

“Hey, Noach, what the heck are you building?”

“An ark?”

“A what?”

“An ark.”

“Why are you doing that?”

“Because Hashem is planning to destroy mankind because of its rampant immorality.”

“Ha ha ha,” they laughed. “You’ve got to be kidding.”

“I’m not kidding at all,” Noach answered.

“What a joker!” they scoffed. “Stupidest thing we’ve ever heard!”

In the end, no one took Noach’s warning seriously. No one changed his evil ways. The rest of the story is known to everyone – all of existence was wiped out in the flood, except Noach’s family and the animals he brought into the ark.

What was their sin? Rampant sexual immorality. Yes, there was violence and robbery too. Men killed their neighbors to steal their wives away to satiate their unbridled passions. The Midrash enumerates their transgressions:

They ignored the commandment to be fruitful and multiply, corrupting the marital act into a wide-open sport for egotistical pleasure. Men took many wives. They exchanged their wives with other men. They engaged in immorality with beasts. They spilled their seed in vain, even publically, in defiance of Hashem. Following their example, even animals perverted their ways, mating with different species.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai teaches: “There is no sin in the world which so provokes the wrath of the Almighty as the sin of sexual transgression, as it says, ‘A sword shall execute the vengeance of the Brit’” (Zohar, Noach, 66B). This verse from the Torah (Vayikra, 26:25) indicates that Divine vengeance (symbolized by the sword) comes precisely over transgressions of the Brit (covenant) of sexual holiness, as opposed to other sins.

Rabbi Shimon continues: “The proof is that in the generation of the Flood, the measure of sin was not filled up until mankind became sexually corrupted by corruptly misusing their seed. And although they robbed each other, and the earth was filled with violence, yet it was because ‘the earth was corrupted (תשחת) before G-d’ that their doom was finally pronounced, as it says, ‘Behold, I will destroy משחית them,’ measure for measure they were destroyed (from the root word שחת) because they corrupted their ways (also from the root word שחת)” for the sin of spilling seed in vain (השחת זרע) as is found with the sin of Onan, as it says, “He spilled his seed (שחת) on the earth” (Bereshit, 38:9).

Noach was saved from the global destruction because he safeguarded the Brit of sexual holiness, as it says, “These are the generations of Noach; Noach was a tzaddik” (Bereshit, 6:9). The Zohar explains that the appellation “Tzaddik” is only given to a person who safeguards the Brit of sexual holiness, like with Yosef, who is called “Tzaddik” because he conquered the sexual temptations of Potifar’s wife.

It is written, “The Tzaddik is the foundation of the world” (Mishle, 10:25). In Kabbalistic terms, the “Tzaddik” represents the Divine channel (sefirah) of blessing known as “Yesod.” The sefirah of “Yesod” is associated with sexuality, through which the Divine life-force is channeled into the world when conducted in a holy fashion. When this same life-force is corrupted via sexual sin, the forces of evil are strengthened, as during the time of the Flood. Noach, in guarding the holiness of the “Yesod” was thus the foundation of the world, father of all the generations that came after him. This is the meaning of “Noach walked with G-d,” in his aspect of safeguarding his sexual holiness. Thus it is written regarding Noach, “And I will establish My Brit with thee.”

Furthermore, the Jewish People are assured entry into the World To Come because they safeguard the Brit, as it says, “And Thy people are all Tzaddikim; they will inherit the land forever” (Yishyahu, 60:21. See Zohar, Parsha Noach, 59B).

Thus, we can see that the laws of modesty and proper marital relations are the foundations of life, deserving of extra study and adherence, for the benefit of the individual, the Jewish People, and the world.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 October 2014 )
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