It has become a yearly tradition to look around during leining (if I make it on time, that is) and see who else follows the what is being read. Most of the time it turns out that no one is listening. No one stops the Ba'al Korah trying to understand why he keeps on repeating himself, and reads the story twice. I never see anyone turn the pages back and forth trying to understand the Torah. Well, not that I got it myself back in the day when I was still doing the שמו"ת. Maximum, when a problem arose, I took a quick glimpse at Rashi and everything fell into place.
Let's take a look at the story:
And the LORD said: 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and creeping thing, and fowl of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.' But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
The 'Lord' (יְהוָה) takes a liking to Noah, but then 'GOD' (אֱלֹהִים) saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. So God tells Noah Make thee an ark of gopher wood, do this and do that, and bring of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of the fowl after their kind, and of the cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
Noah is not the lazy type, Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
Moving on - the LORD said unto Noah: 'Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee seven and seven, each with his mate; and of the beasts that are not clean two, each with his mate.
Ooops. Good thing he didn't do everything according to all that God commanded him, for now the Lord got involved too and he wants seven and seven of each. He's a good fellow Noah, so now he does according unto all that the LORD commanded him. It is hard blame him, poor Noah, I wouldn't argue with the deities myself. God commands I do, the Lord says and I listen. It's not smart to pick fights with the Almightys.
All Noah had to do now is wait and see which of the Gods is going to bring the flood. And so, in his 600th year the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood...here went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, male and female, as God commanded Noah. So God won. Nice. And it came to pass after the seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
But wait, not so fast Noah. Suprise! In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. Again? Afraid so Noah, you've gotta cram up that boat again. Indeed, In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark. This time the obedient man takes only two and two of all flesh. God is in the details.
Pity the man yet? Wait until he wants to get out. He sends the raven out and...well, no one knows what happened next. He had to send the dove the second attempt.
Noah has two gods, God forbid (יש מרבותינו דורשים אותו לשבח, ויש שדורשים אותו לגנאי). After leaving the ark he builds and alter to the Lord who likes the sweet savor and promises to not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. As soon as the Lord is done talking Noah makes a convent with God who tells him something about the end of the rainbow.
Not one single person in shul looks astonished. Not one cares.
1 Thank God for Rashi. 2 Give thanks to the Lord for Rashi.
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