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פ׳ נח

וזה אשר תעשה אותה שלש מאות אמה אורך התבה חמשים אמה רחבה ושלשים אמה קומתה.

(בראשית ו׳ ט״ו)

And this is how you shall make it: 300 cubits its length; 50 cubits its width, and 30 cubits its height.(Genesis 6:15)

In this past Wednesday's Daf Yomi (Sukkah 53), we learned a well-known Agadata:
At the time that David excavated the Shisin, he uncovered the tehom and the waters threatened to flood the world. David asked: "Does anyone know if it is permitted to write God's Name on a pottery shard and cast it into the deep so that the waters will calm down?" No one answered. David said, "If anyone knows and doesn't answer, they should choke". Achitofel reasoned with a kal v'chomer: if the Torah allows Hashem's Name to be erased to make peace between husband and wife, all the more so to make peace in the entire world. He told David, "It is permitted". David wrote the Name of God on a shard and cast it into the deep. The deep subsided 16,000 garmidi. When he saw that, he said, the closer to the surface, the more fertile the earth will be. So he said the fifteen Shir Ha-ma'alot and the water rose 15,000 garmidi, until they settled at 1,000 garmidi beneath the earth's surface.


The Maharsha explains that when the world was created, the water naturally covered the entire earth. God caused the waters to be gathered into the deep. Hashem did this with the Name yud - hei, as the verse (Isaiah 26:4) says, כי בי״ה ה׳ צור עולמים ki v'kah Hashem tzur olamim. The Gemara (Menachos 29b) translates this homiletically: "for with the Yud and Hei Hashem established worlds" and says that Hashem created two worlds (olamim is plural) - this world and the world to come - with these two letters (also see Rashi to Breishit 2:4 on the word בהבראם). Achitofel told David to write the letter Hei and throw it into the deep. This is what the Mishna in Avos (6:3) means when it says that
He who learns from his fellowman .. even a single letter, must treat him with honor. For so we find with David King of Israel, who only learned from Ahitophel two things ..


The Gemara (Sotah 17b) says
איש ואשה - זכו: שכינה ביניהן; לא זכו: אש אוכלתן
ish v'isha - zachu: Shechina beineihen; lo zachu: eish ochlasan - "A man and a woman - if they merit it, God's Presence dwells between them; if they do not merit it: a fire consumes them." As Rashi comments, if you take the letter yud away from ish, and the letter hei away from isha, you're left with eish and eish - fire.

The Kli Yakar explains, we see that the name of Hashem that denotes a peaceful and proper relationship between man and woman is the name: י-ה which is 15 in gematria (Yud=10 and Hei=5).

There were 15 rows of steps in the Beit Hamikdash that connected the Ezras Hanashim with the Ezras Yisrael. The Mishna (Sukkah 51a) says that they were in two sets, of ten and five - which we know see corresponds with the yud and the hei.

Adultery causes this name of Name of Hashem to be denigrated.

Although the generation of the flood were also guilty of murder, robbery, and idol worship, their main sin was licentiousness. (Sanherin 108b - "with boiling [semen] they sinned, and so they were punished with boiling [water]) This is the reason they were punished with the flood. Because they debased this Name of God, they also lost their share in the world to come. (Sanhedrin 107b).

This is the reason, says the Kli Yakar, that the water rose 15 amos above the highest surface of the earth. And why the water continued to rise for 150 days (10 * 15). This is why the dimensions of the teyva were such that each of the three stories were 15,000 cubic amos (300 * 50 * 10).

In Yishayahu (Isaiah 38), Chizkiyahu falls ill, and the navi is sent to tell him he is going to die. The Gemara (Berachos 10a-b) fills in the backstory.
"In those days, Chizkiyahu took sick close to death and Isaiah son of Amotz came to him and said to him, So said Hashem: Instruct your house, for you are dying and you will not live"
The gemara asks: What does it mean: "you are dying and you will not live" ..?
You are dying and in this world, and you will not live in the world to come.
Chizkiyahu asked, "Why do I deserve such a punishment?"
Yeshayahu said, "Because you did not engage in pirya v'rivya"
Chizkiyau said, "I know through Ruach Ha-Kodesh that I am destined to have evil children" (indeed, his son Menashe was one of the most wicked of the Davidic kings)
Yeshayahu: "Leave the hidden things to God. You do what you're supposed to do, and Hashem will do as He pleases.
Chizkiyahu said, "So let me marry your daughter - perhaps between your z'chus and my z'chus our children will not come to sin.
Yishayahu answered, "It has already been decreed.."
Chizkiyahu: "Ben Amotz, take your prophecy and get out! I have a tradition from my father's father (Rashi: from David HaMelech) that even if one has a sharp sword on one's throat, it is not too late to pray for mercy".


After this, the psukim continue, Chizkiyahu cried out to Hashem and did Teshuva and, as the verse continues, was granted 15 more years of life. So, when he was guilty for not getting married and having children - the primary goal of a home where "God's Presence dwells" between husband and wife - his punishment would be the loss of both worlds God created with the name Y-H; but when he repented, he was given that many more years added to his life.

This is why David Hamelech composed the 15 Shir Hama'alos at this time. He knew that the generation of the flood had been destroyed by the tehom because of z'nus.

Perhaps when David Hamelech saw the waters rise up, he was afraid that his teshuva for his sin with Batsheva was not complete. Achitophal may have initially withheld his ruling because he was Batsheva's grandfather, and he wasn't sure if David had really done teshuva. Notice that that the kal v'chomer he used was based on erasing Hashem's name for the sake of peace between man and his wife.

The above-cited Gemara in Menachos continues: "why was this world created with a hei? - it is open on the bottom for the sinners to fall to gehenom, yet there is an opening on the side I thought it possible thatthat, perhaps, what ties together the stories of the dor ha-mabul, David Hamelech and Chizkayahu. Rashi comments that the reason it took Noach 100 years to build the teyva was to give the people the opportunity to do teshuva - an opportunity that they didn't grasp. David, however, did full and complete teshuva and retained his portion in both this world and the next. And this is the "teaching from my father's father" that Chizkiyahu was refering to.

This is the meaning of the possuk in Hallel (Psalms 118:17) - לא אמות כי אחיה ואספר מעשי י״ה - lo amut ki ech'yeh va'asaper ma'asei kah - "I will not die, for I will live, and I will tell of the doings (creations) of Y-H". I will not die - in this world; for I will live - in the world to come - and tell of the power of the name yud and hei and the ever-open possibility for teshuva.

We have previously noted that the Pesach seder has 15 parts to it. Perhaps this is partly because the Egyptians, who were steeped in immorality, were also punished with water (the first two plagues, and the drowning in the yam suf). They, too, were given many opportunities for teshuva and didn't take them.



Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by joem on Oct 27, 2006 2:30 pm

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