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Friday, Mar-Cheshvan 2, 5782 / October 8, 2021


In this week’s Parsha, Noach, the Torah tells us that after the waters of The Great Flood receded,  Noach wanted to check if it was safe to leave the ark. Noach sent forth a dove to see if the waters abated from the face of the ground. But the dove didn’t find a resting place and returned to the ark. Noach waited seven days and again sent forth the dove out of the ark. The dove came back at evening with an olive leaf in her mouth. Noach knew that the waters were abated from the earth. 


Q.   What is the significance of the olive leaf which the dove brought back to Noach?


A.  Our sages explain, with the "leaf in her mouth" the dove was expressing to Noach, "I prefer my food, even when bitter as the olive branch, by the hands of the Holy One, blessed be He, and not sweet as honey through the hands of people."


In the Grace-after- Meal, we thank G-d for the food we ate and we pray, "Our G-d, our father; tend us, nourish us, sustain us, feed us and provide us with plenty, and speedily, L-rd our G-d, grant us relief from all our afflictions.  L-rd our G-d, please do not make us dependent upon the gifts of mortal men nor upon their loans, but only upon Your full, open, holy and generous hand that we may never be shamed or disgraced.


Q.There is a special blessing we recite upon seeing a rainbow. "Blessed are you L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, Who remembers the covenant, is trustworthy in His covenant and fulfills His word." What is the significance of the rainbow that our sages designated a special blessing?


A.The rainbow's significance is found in this week’s Parsha, Noach.  After the Great Flood, G-d made the following promise, "Never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth. This is the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you for all generations: I set My bow in the cloud and it shall be for a covenant between Me and the earth.  And I will remember My covenant... and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh."


The Midrash explains that when G-d told Noach to leave the ark and, "be fruitful and multiply," Noach was hesitant, for fear that G-d may again destroy the world.  G-d then made an oath not to bring another great flood.  Noach was still hesitant and asked G-d for a sign. G-d showed him the rainbow and declared, "This is my sign.”  G-d said, “Even if mankind will deserve such punishment, I will look at the rainbow and remember the covenant." As a result, we recite a special blessing upon seeing a rainbow.


The Midrash explains that when two warriors approach each other for peace, they would turn the bow toward themselves to signal that they do not seek war. Thus, G-d said to Noach, "During the Great Flood My bow was drawn against the world destroying all living beings upon the face of the earth. The rainbow resembles the bow pointing upward, this expresses My promise never to direct My arrows of destruction against the world again."




Montreal candle lighting time: 6:03 / Shabbat ends: 7:03