Perashat Noah: These are the Children of Noah

פרשת נח

אלה תולדות נח

The Parasha begins by telling us about the offspring of Noah, "These are the children of Noah." Yet, after these words, the Torah describes how great Noah was. He was righteous and wholesome as he walked with Hashem. If the Passuk began by telling me "These are the children of Noah," why not list them immidiately after?

Rashi explains that the main "offspring" of a righteous person are his deeds. Being a צדיק and a תמים are Noah's תולדות. However, it is possible that there might be another lesson as well. 

The Gemara in Sukkah (45b) states, אמר אביי לא פחות עלמא מתלתין ושיתא צדיקי דמקבלי אפי שכינה בכל יום, Abaye said "the world cannot have less than 36 righteous people who can perceive Shechina every day". Imagine the great merit these people must have. Imagine the pleasure they give their ancestors! אשרי יולדיהן!

It is possible that the Torah is alluding to these צדיקים. The word אלה has the numerical value of 36. אלה תולדות נח, the 36 tzadikim are all the progeny of Noah! Although there were millions of people living, only Noah merited having children who can perceive Hashem's presence every day! Why? Noah was righteous and wholesome with Hashem!

It is possible that this is the meaning of the words, את האלקים התהלך נח, "with Hashem Noah went". These words indicate that Noah walked "with Hashem", he perceived Shechina every day. It was these acts that transferred this great merit to his descendants!

It is interesting that Abaye made the statement about the 36 צדיקים who perceive Shechina every day. It is possible that Abaye wished to be one of these men. The Gemara in Taanit (25b) teaches that Abaye was greeted from Heaven every Friday night where Abba Umana, a physician, was greeted daily. Abaye felt badly because of Abba Umana.

Rashi explains that a בת קול would greet the doctor daily. The Mekubalim write that a בת קול is a miniature prophecy. Abaye craved being one of the 36 to receive this daily transmission!

Rabbi Eliezer Zeytouneh is the Rav of Congregation Bnei Shelomo located at 1305 Gravesend Neck Rd. He is also the Principal of Yeshivat Or Hatorah and the Dean of Peninim Sephardic Seminary. His Shiurim are attended by young adults of all backgrounds and can be heard on and Kol Halashon.