Midreshet Amit


Back to Main Page

Parshat Noach: Priorities

By: Chloe Schwartz and Emily Cohen

During our childhood, we always learned that Noach was exceptional for his generation but in reality in any other generation he was would  just have been considered average. In this weeks parsha, he is identified as an “איש צדיק” a righteous man , and later on in the parsha changes he is identified he as “איש האדמאה” a man of the earth.. The מדרש notes a weird word describing Noach’s planting of the vineyard, “וַיָּחֶל”. This word means he degraded himself. Why is planting a vineyard degrading? In our society owning a vineyard would be considered the opposite of degrading. After the ark touched ground, Noach should have planted all sorts of fruits and vegetables to replenish all the crops that had been lost in the flood. However, Noach chose to plant a vineyard and then got drunk on the wine he produced. This first step after the flood is what sent him on a downward spiral. This is why he moves from being identified as a righteous man to being a man of the earth. Another way to look at this change in title, can be as a wake up call. It may have not sent him on a downward spiral, but instead “איש האדאה” could be referring to the humbling of a person.  איש האדמה translates to man of the earth, which can represent he reconnected to the earth after going through the מבול, returning to dry land. You learn a lot about a person based on their priorities. Noach had the right idea in mind with starting the agricultural process back up, but he did it in the wrong way, by beginning with a vineyard. We should always be cautious that even if we have the right priorities in mind, we fulfill them in the correct way. Shabbat Shalom!