Parashat Noach: The Hidden Messages Amid HAMAS Attacks on Israel (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

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A Look at Parashat Noach

Parashat Noach, found in the book of Beresheit (Genesis), is a narrative rich with allegorical, historical, and ethical content. It discusses the degradation of humanity and the world to a point that warrants divine intervention in the form of a deluge. The teivah (ark), a sanctuary in the midst of chaos, serves as HaShem’s mercy and a manifestation of divine providence.

In Beresheit 6:11-13, the Hebrew word “Hamas” (חָמָס) is used to describe the corrupt state of the world, signifying a breakdown of moral and social order. In these verses, “Hamas” is generally translated as “violence” or “wrongdoing,” demonstrating a world out of balance and in need of divine recalibration. The word itself is quite powerful, embodying various forms of corruption, violence, and lawlessness.

In Gematria, the Hebrew word for “Hamas” (חָמָס) and “Gehinom” (גֵּיהִנוֹם) both equal 108. Gematria often serves as an exegetical tool in Jewish literature for drawing conceptual relationships between different words. While the numerical similarity could be seen as symbolizing:

The destructive consequences of living in a society run by violence and corruption. Essentially, a “Hell” on Earth.

The presence of “Hamas” in the 13th verse of the 6th chapter could be understood as significant when considering the concept of Gematria and the mystical symbolism often found in numbers within Jewish tradition. The number 13 is especially noteworthy; it is often linked with the concept of unity and oneness (Echad). The Hebrew word “Echad” (אחד), which means “one,” has a gematria value of 13. The Aleph (א) is 1, the Chet (ח) is 8, and the Dalet (ד) is 4. When you add these together, 1 + 8 + 4 equals 13. This numerical value is often explored in Kabbalistic and Hasidic teachings to emphasize the oneness and unity of HaShem.

The number 13 is also connected to the Thirteen Principles of Faith outlined by the Rambam (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon), as well as the 13 attributes of mercy (Shelosh-‘Esreh Middot HaRakhamim) revealed to Moshe during his sojourn on Mount Sinai. These principles and attributes form the core belief system that helps unify the Jewish people.

Thus, the number 13 has a positive connotation within Jewish thought, symbolizing the oneness of HaShem and the unity of the Jewish people. The fact that the word “Hamas” appears in Beresheit 6:13 can be seen as what happens when the societal fabric breaks down, in direct opposition to the values of unity and oneness symbolized by the number 13.

The 613 Mitzvot serve as the foundational commandments governing Jewish life, and one could argue that the appearance of “Hamas” in this particular verse serves as a stark reminder of what occurs when societies stray far from the values espoused in these Mitzvot:

Chaos, violence, and divine intervention.

When it comes to interpreting Parashat Noach in light of recent events, such as the terror attacks perpetrated by the organization HAMAS, one could consider this:

The violence and chaos represented by “Hamas” in the Torah may serve as a cautionary tale for the world. It’s a warning against letting our societies degrade to a point where moral relativism and violence reign.

Additional Commentary

Beresheit 6

“And HaShem saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth.”

  • Breaking the vessels (‘Shevirat HaKelim’) is akin to the spiritual calamity in Beresheit 6. When the boundaries are broken, disarray ensues, much like the generation of the flood.
  • The numerical value of “Noach” (נח) is 58, the same as “Chen” (חן), grace. He carried grace in a world devoid of it.
  • In Kabbalistic terms, the increased darkness could indicate a descent for the purpose of ascent (‘Yeridah Tzorech Aliyah’).
  • The notion of “Tikkun Olam” (Rectification of the World) starts with man’s actions; hence, wisdom and caution are imperative.
  • Immediate teshuvah is vital as it signifies alignment with divine will and mitigates harsh judgments.

Beresheit 7

“Come, you and all your household, into the ark.”

  • The ark, or ‘teivah,’ shares a root with the Hebrew word for ‘word’ (‘tevah’). Thus, words of Torah serve as an ark during turbulent times.
  • Just as Noach was required to care for animals, so too must we extend chesed (kindness) to all of creation.
  • In Kabbalistic understanding, preparing for upheaval involves harnessing ‘Malchut’ to withstand ‘Gevurah,’ strict judgments.
  • The flood is akin to the ‘breaking of the vessels’ in Lurianic Kabbalah, a necessary process for eventual rectification.

Beresheit 8

“And God remembered Noah.”

  • Divine “remembrance” (‘Zikaron’) is an activation of the sefirah of Chesed, bestowing kindness and changing reality.
  • Even in the depths of ‘Gevurot,’ restrictive emanations, there exists a spark of ‘Chesed’ that can be revealed through prayer and good deeds.
  • The concept of ‘hitpashtut de’Gedulah’ suggests that even in constriction, the essence of the Divine bestows goodness.
  • Noach’s prayers could be likened to a form of ‘Yichudim,’ kabbalistic meditations, channeling Divine mercy into the world.

Beresheit 9

“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”

  • In addition to physical procreation, ‘P’ru u’R’vu’ implies the necessity to disseminate divine wisdom.
  • The obligation to procreate parallels the emanation of Divine ‘Chochmah’ into ‘Binah,’ a symbolic union resulting in ‘Da’at,’ knowledge.
  • A moral imperative exists to safeguard creation, reflecting the sefirah of ‘Yesod,’ which unites heaven and earth.
  • The ‘brit,’ or covenant, serves as an eternal reminder of our collective responsibility to effect ‘Tikkun Olam.’

Beresheit 10

“These are the generations of the sons of Noah.”

  • The term ‘generations’ (‘Toledot’) points to the propagation not just of physical descendants but also of moral and spiritual virtues.
  • Just as every part of the human body serves a function, each nation carries a unique spiritual task (‘Tikkun’).
  • The sefirotic structure posits that all nations emanate from a particular Divine attribute, fulfilling unique roles in the cosmic design.
  • No one nation can complete the work alone; the plurality ensures the comprehensive fulfillment of the Divine blueprint.

Beresheit 11

“And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.”

  • ‘Dveikut’ (cleaving to God) is only possible in diversity. A single tongue constricts the manifold ways one can connect to HaShem.
  • The ‘Migdal Bavel’ (Tower of Babel) represents a false unity, akin to ‘klippot’ (shells) that mimic holiness but lead astray.
  • Using language to oppose Divine unity reverses the holy function of speech, turning a potential bridge into a barrier.
  • The dispersion was an act of divine ‘Chesed,’ enabling nations to find their unique path back to the source.

Parashat Conclusion

In Parashat Noach, the Torah depicts a world teetering on the brink of moral collapse. It is a narrative laden with powerful words like “Hamas,” which resonates through the ages to current events. The term, mentioned in Beresheit 6:11 and 6:13, symbolizes violence and corruption—concepts not foreign to us today as they often manifest in contemporary conflicts. Intriguingly, the gematria of “Hamas” and “Gehinom” both equate to 108, serving as a dire warning about the path society walks when it succumbs to chaos and violence.

This Parasha serves as a timeless message from HaShem, especially poignant in the wake of recent acts of violence. It emphasizes the importance of the 613 Mitzvot as a guide to righteous living, steering us away from destructive behaviors. Through the deluge, HaShem intervenes in a world that has lost its way, offering both a punishment and a pathway to renewal. The significance is profound:

When society strays from divine principles, it risks not only earthly disarray but also spiritual ruin, thereby necessitating divine intervention to restore balance and righteousness.


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