This week’s Torah reading teaches us to do our best to influence others to act in their own best interests.
This week’s Torah portion is “Noah” (Genesis 6:9-11-32) and the story of the flood.
The Torah tells us that God told Noah, “And from every clean animal take for yourself…” And just few verses later, we read: “Two by two they came to Noah into the Ark…”.
The commentators note that there seems to be a contradiction here. First the Torah tells us that Noah was supposed to personally bring the animals into the ark, and then a moment later we are told that they came on their own. So which is it? The solution, we are told, is that the non-kosher animals came on their own, while Noah had to personally round up the kosher ones.
It is further explained that the reason non-kosher animals came to the ark was in order to save themselves. One will also recall that non-kosher animals came in pairs, one male and one female, so that that they would be able to reproduce their species after the flood. Why did the kosher animals not do the same?
Kosher animals were also routinely offered as sacrifices to God after the flood. Because they were going to be slaughtered as an offering, God did not impart with them a self-preservation instinct to make their way to the ark, and ultimately to their death. As such, Noah had to do the job himself.
So again, the non-kosher animals instinctively made their way to the ark, because God only imparts instincts in living creatures that are good for them. God does not impart instincts into living creatures which, when acted upon, would lead to their death. That would be somewhat unfair.
The lesson is clear: We must be careful to do things that show integrity and that are helpful to others. This includes always making an effort to give good advice to others in order to help them succeed.
By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, rabbinic director, United with Israel
For more insights on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below.
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