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Tower of Babel

Naming Naamah, Noach’s Wife (and the Other Torah Women Too)

In this week’s parashah, Noach, we hear from Noah’s unnamed wife. She reminds us that it is not easy being one of the women in the Torah. Although these women ensured the future of humanity and of our people Israel, too often they are unnamed, demonized, silenced, or forgotten.

D'var Torah By: 
Equal Parts of the Puzzle
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Zoe Klein Miles

In addition to the beautiful and powerful redemption of voices in Rabbi Kipnes’ teaching, there is something else that makes his piece on Parashat Noach deeply moving: a modern male rabbi calling out the historical silencing of female voices. 

Finding Wholeheartedness in Your Life

In Parashat Noach, Noah is called an, ish tzaddik tamim, a “blameless” or “wholehearted person in his age.” But biblical commentators criticize his conduct, saying he lacked compassion for his fellow man and that he committed incest. What, then, is the meaning of the word tamim?

D'var Torah By: 
The Strength to Move Past Brokenness
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Jeffrey J. Sirkman

Parashat Noach shows how life’s struggles and challenges and changes wear and tear at our spirits. We face disappointments — in others or ourselves; defeat makes us feel, at times, as if the weight of the world is on our shoulders. Inescapably, life takes its toll. Yet it is not a matter of being whole, but rather about how, in our brokenness, we respond. Noah was an ish tamim when the only compassionate reaction was to be broken.

Learning Lessons From and With God

In many ways, Parashat Noach is filled with as many theological problems as answers. Chief among them is why after creating the world and all living things, God destroys "all that lives under the heavens" (Genesis 6:17). The reason that God gives is the "violence" or "lawlessness" (chamas) of humankind. Yet what about such godly virtues as patience, love, and forgiveness? Apparently, God possesses less of them than one might wish. Does saving Noah, his family, and a male and female of all living species in order to ensure continued reproduction make up for God's actions? Is saving them a sign of mercy or of pragmatism?

D'var Torah By: 
Learning Lessons From and With God
Davar Acher By: 
Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus

Most of us are introduced to the Noah story as a fable for children. The adorable images of animals two-by-two, the ark floating on the rising waters, the dove with the olive branch in her beak — all these lead up to the beautiful rainbow in the sky, and they all lived happily after. Would that it were so. In her insightful d'var Torah, Dr. Umansky ponders the theological problems we confront in Parashat Noach, much deeper than the pediatric version we are so often presented. 

What Was that Noah Movie About, Anyway?

The movie Noah, released in theaters across America last year, generated its share of controversy among religious reviewers and bloggers.

D'var Torah By: 
The Building Blocks of Compassion
Davar Acher By: 
Michal Shekel

In Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (Act 4, scene 1) Portia argues:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven . . .

Parashat Noach

Have you ever seen the skyline of New York or L.A. or Chicago?

D'var Torah By: 
How to be a Role Model
Davar Acher By: 
Paul Kipnes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a hero? Imagine having people look up to you and mimic your tastes in food, clothing, and entertainment.

The Rainbow: A Sign of God's Promise

Who among us hasn't looked up at the sky after a rainfall and exclaimed in awe and wonder, "Look—a rainbow!"

D'var Torah By: 
Saving the Garden
Davar Acher By: 
Dan Ginis

In Parashat Noach we continue to explore an issue that is at the heart of Adam and Eve's experience in the Garden of Eden: the relationship between humans, the animals w

Compassion: Innate or Learned?

While just last week we read about the creation of the world, this week in Parashat Noach we read about the Flood that destroys it.

D'var Torah By: 
The Rainbow: An Infinite Array of God's Creativity
Davar Acher By: 
Arnold Sleutelberg

Parashat Noach offers us a glimpse into a special world—that of a family whose mission it was to repopulate the earth.


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