Vol 20.04 - Noach 2 Spanish French Audio Video
1. On the verse (Gen. 7:6):
“And Noach was six hundred years old, and the flood came about, water upon the earth”.
The Midrash states:
“The year of the Flood is not counted in the number”.
This means (as the commentators state) that the year of the Flood is not counted “in the number of Noach's years”. As we see, when G-d counted Noach's years, He did not reckon the year of the Flood.
For we find that Noach lived for 951 years together with the year of the Flood.
For it states, that Noach was 600 years old when the Flood commenced,
This implies that the flood was after six hundred years, as it states,
“And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year . . that the waters dried up”
and it states,
“And Noach lived after the Flood, three hundred and fifty years.”
It further states,
“And all the days of Noach (that he lived) were nine hundred and fifty years (950)”
It should have stated nine hundred and fifty-one years (951).
Therefore, “the year of the Flood is not counted in the number of his years”.
(We explain that the reason for this is that “since it was a year of tribulation, it is not reckoned in the number of his years”).
It has been mentioned many times that since Rashi, states in many places, in his commentary on Torah – the expression, “I do not know” and so forth, it is a proof that in each place where there is a difficulty in the simple meaning of the verse , it is forewarned in Rashi’s commentary. In a place where Rashi does not write any explanation (and does not state, “I do not know” , and so forth) it is an aspect that is either self-understood, or it is understood from the verse itself, or that it is understood from Rashi’s previous comments of the verses heretofore.
According to this, one must understand:
Since the total of Noach’s year, that is stated in Scripture, does not include his years before and after the flood (which proves the statement that “The year of the Flood is not counted in the number”) it is a blatant contradiction in the plain understanding of the verses. Yet Rashi does not address this, in his commentary on Torah?
One cannot say, that Rashi maintains that, plainly, “The year of the Flood is not counted in the number”.
For on the contrary, this is a tremendous innovation, and Rashi should have expressly written this. Especially, since in the detailed accounting of the flood, the year of the flood is indeed accounted for in Scripture, as aforementioned:
2. One can explain this:
The verse states,
“In the six hundredth year (בשנת) of Noach's life, . .all the springs of the great deep were split etc.”
The plain meaning of the word “in the year” (בשנת) is in (the middle of) that year.
Therefore, one can learn, that the occurrence of,
“In the six hundredth year (בשנת) of Noach's life, . . all the springs of the great deep were split etc.”
was in the beginning of the year.
In other words, upon entering the six hundredth year of Noach’s life, when he was 599 years and a bit old, the flood began.
Therefore, since the verse is precise in stating,
“In the six hundredth year (בשנת) etc.”,
one must say that even the verse,
“And Noach was six hundred years old, and the flood came about, water upon the earth”,
means - when he had entered his six hundredth year.
(Or it means
(like the precise wording of the verse- that the “flood was” (והמבול הי׳ מים על הארץ) – in the past tense).
that when Noach was a “six hundred-year-old” person, the flood was already (previously) upon the earth).
So too, the verse,
“And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year . . that the waters dried up”,
(not a complete six hundred and one years (601), but rather)
in the beginning of the six hundred and first year (601) – namely, six hundred years and a bit.
However, when it comes to the total of the years of Noach’s life, the Torah speaks of complete years, and does not reckon part of a year, as being a complete year.
Therefore, it comes out that the year of Noach’s life are nine hundred and fifty (950).
(Six hundred years (and a bit) (600) until after the flood – and three-hundred and fifty (350) after the flood).
3. This explanation, however, is not sufficient:
On the verse,
“For in another seven days, I will make it rain upon the earth”,
“Go and calculate the years of Methuselah and you will find that they ended in the six-hundredth year of Noach’s life”.
The accounting of this is:
And since Methuselah was 187 years old when Lemech was born, and Lemech was 182 when Noach was born (totaling 369 years) - it comes out that the “years of Methuselah (969 years) ended in the six-hundredth year of Noach’s life. (600 and 369 total = 969).
Therefore, since the death of Methuselah was before the flood, it comes out that
“In the six hundredth year of Noach's life, . .all the springs of the great deep were split etc.”
means that it was after Noach was already six hundred years old.
Plainly, one can answer that:
The person’s age (number of years old) when his son was born (187, 182 etc.) does not mean that on the very day he became that age (his birthday), his son was born.
(For according to this, it would come out, that Seth and Enosh, as well as the following “generations” – of whom it states, “And he lived . . years and he had a son” – all of them were born exactly on the same birthday as their father was born. In other words, they were all born (on the birthday of Adam) – Rosh Hashanah!)
However, the meaning is that after they had attained that age (number of years), in the midst of that year, their son was born.
Therefore, it comes out, that since the 187 years of Methuselah, when Lemech was born, as well as the 182 years of Lemech when Noach was born, included additional days - therefore - the combination of those additional days, together with the part of Noach’s six hundred years – totaled a complete year – which completed Methuselah’s years.
However, it remains not straightforward:
Regarding the sin of the Dor Haflagah (the generation of the Dispersion of the Tower of Bavel) Rashi states:
“They said, ‘Once every 1,656 years, the sky totters, as it did in the time of the Flood’”.
The calculation of “1,656 years” is the total of the years of the ages of the generations from Adam until Noach.
However, if we learn as the aforementioned, that the numbers of the years include parts (days) that are not counted, it comes out that each one of the ten generations has an additional time (days, weeks or months) which is not included in the general total of those years.
Seemingly, logic dictates that in the course of the ten generations, who lived so very long, that the additional parts comprised more than the days of one year (at the least). So much so, that the total should have not been “1,656 years” but more than this - “1,657 years”.
4. Seemingly, one can learn, that the total reckoning of “1,656 years” is because,
“People’s ages are counted according to the number of years of the world”
(thus Rashi’s words in Parshat Ki Tisa).
This means that when one counts the totals of the years of people, it is not according to their years but rather according to the years of the world. (note: from Tishrei).
However, it is exceedingly difficult to learn that Rashi accepts this learning in our Parsha, without writing this expressly. For according to the simple meaning of the verse, this is a tremendous innovation. Namely, that when the Torah reckons years of an individual person, it does not mean his actual years but rather counts from the (calendar) year!
5. The explanation of this is:
In the simple manner (Pshat), when the Torah states that a certain person is such-and-such years old,
(not like the expression “I am one hundred and twenty years (old) today”)
It means an approximate age –
For, plainly, we follow the majority (even that of a year). (Note: in other words, we “round” the years).
Therefore, the reckoning of “1,656 years” is more straightforward. For usually, one can accept, that
So much so, that in the total, the number is approximately equal (to the years of the world).
6. One can additionally explain this (however, it does not entirely follow Pshat), by prefacing:
The plain reason why Torah reckons for each (of the “generations), his age at the birth of his son,
For seemingly, what difference does it make?
is in order that one know when the various episodes in the Torah occurred.
According to this,
(that the number of years that are stated in connection with the birth of the generations is (mainly) to inform us the precise (גענויעם) count of the age of the world)
one could say that the number that is written in the Torah
(in conjunction with the birth of a particular person)
can have a difference of plus-or-minus two years (קארגע צוויי יאר).
The 187 years (in the aforementioned verse - “Methuselah lived 187 years”, could mean
Although, according to this, one cannot know the precise time of the birth of a specific person – it however, helps for the main intent (עיקר המכוון):
Namely, to know the age (number of years) of the world. For the total of all the counts of the years fits with the count of the years of the world, plus or minus a part of a year.
7. The inner reason why the Torah is precise regarding the count of the years of the world, can be understood by prefacing what is states in the Midrash, that one of the qualities of Yidden, that Aquilas” (a non-Jew - Aquila of Sinope) considered (as a reason for his desire to convert) is –
“the smallest of them knows . .how many years it is from the creation of the world”.
Since these qualities of Yidden which he considered, brought him to convert, it is understood that they are not qualities in the advanced intellect of Yidden, but rather qualities which are connected with the Jewish religion (דת ישראל).
The explanation of this is:
Faith in the creation of the world (חידוש העולם) is one of the foundations of Torah.
In the words of Ramban:
“It is the root of faith; and one who doesn't believe this and believes that the world is primordial is an apostate and has no Torah whatsoever”
However, in faith itself, there are many levels:
It can be that someone is a believer, with complete faith, yet he lacks the certainty of it (די קלארקייט דערפון). The faith is not within him, with clear knowledge. This is like the statement of the Sages that hearing is not comparable to seeing. For although he is certain that what he hears is true, however, it is not comparable to the certainty of truth that is achieved through seeing.
This is the innovation in that which
“the smallest of them knows . .how many years it is from the creation of the world”.
This faith (including its root (as aforementioned) – in the creation of the world) is a clear certainty within him. He knows the (precise) time when G-d created the world.
For this reason, Torah elaborates (in the numbers of the years of the generations) to precisely inform us the number of the years of the world.
M’Michtavei Sivan 5741
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