Parashat Noakh / פרשת נח

Crop of The Animals Entering Noahs Ark by Jacopo Bassano


Parashat Noakh is the second weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the second reading of Bereishit (“Genesis”). Noakh (נֹחַ) is Hebrew for the name Noakh, which means Rest, and is the third and fourth word of the parashah. The parashah details the generations of Noakh, a tzadik (righteous man) in his generations—through whom HaShem preserved mankind through the Mabul (Flood)—recording his descendants as far as Avram (Abram), whom HaShem renamed Avraham (Abraham).

The parashah firstly speaks of the Mabul, which covered the whole face of the Earth, why it was necessary from HaShem’s perspective, when it happened, how, and for how long, and how HaShem nevertheless had mercy on mankind through the righteousness of one man. HaShem commissioned Noakh to build a vessel through which HaShem would preserve human and animal life alike, yet while destroying the rest of the creatures He had created, other than those of the sea. Parashat Noakh describes this vessel in detail, followed by the events of the Mabul.

The parashah describes how the Mabul subsided and when, where the Ark came to rest, and HaShem’s instructions to Noakh to leave the Ark with his family and the creatures that were with them. After this, Noakh builds an altar and sacrifices some of the clean animals and birds, and HaShem makes an important covenant with Noakh and his descendants, and even all of the creatures that were preserved through Noakh. HaShem further provides Noakh and his descendants with a number of instructions at this time pertaining to life in general.

The parashah then describes key events pertaining to Noakh and his children after the Mabul, and what will happen to the descendants of Noakh because of his actions and the actions of his children. The nations that are descended from the sons of Noakh are then described in precise detail, followed by the events pertaining to the Tower of Bavel (Babel) and how the languages of the nations came to be so diverse. Parashat Noakh concludes with a precise record of the descendants of Shem until Avram, and how his family came to settle in Haran on their way to Kena’an (Canaan) from Ur of the Kasdim (Chaldeans).

Torah Portion: Genesis 6:9 – 11:32

1st Aliyah: Genesis 6:9-22 (14 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Genesis 7:1-16 (16 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Genesis 7:17-8:14 (22 verses)
4th Aliyah: Genesis 8:15-9:7 (15 verses)
5th Aliyah: Genesis 9:8-17 (10 verses)
6th Aliyah: Genesis 9:18-10:32 (44 verses)
7th Aliyah: Genesis 11:1-32 (32 verses)
Maftir: Genesis 11:29-32 (4 verses)

Special Maftir
Shabbat Rosh Chodesh: Numbers 28:9-15 (7 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):

Traditional Ashkenazi Reading: Isaiah 54:1 – 55:5
Traditional Sephardic Reading: Isaiah 54:1 – 54:10

When Parashat Noach coincides with a special Shabbat, a different passage of the Prophets is traditionally read:

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh: Isaiah 66:1 – 66:24

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HaShem’s covenant is established with him, and with everyone with him.

He will bring us rest from our work.

HaShem’s grace comes to mankind through his obedient faith.

He did all that HaShem commanded him.

He makes the way for those with faith to enter the World to Come through the waters.

HaShem preserves clean and unclean alike through him.

We must go to him to be saved, as commanded by G-d.

The Memra of HaShem covered over the door of the ark.

All who do not go to him and remain with him will die.

HaShem protected them through His Memra.

Through His Memra, HaShem remembered Noakh, and all the animals, and the cattle that were with him in the ark.

HaShem said through His Memra that He will not curse the Earth again on account of the sin of the children of men.

HaShem established His covenant between His Memra, and between Noakh, and between all life with him perpetually.

He and his sons will fill the Earth; all peoples, nations, and languages will serve him.

Through him HaShem will restore the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of HaShem and serve him with one accord.

Commandments in the Parashah

Be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth.

You will not eat flesh with its blood.

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man will his blood be shed.

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