[From the teachings of Rav. Ginsbourgh (Gal Einai Institute) and Ariel Cohen Alloro]
ונח מצא חן בעיני יה-ו-ה
“And Noah found favor in the eyes of HaShem” (Gn 6:8).
“veNoah matza Hen b’Einei Adonai”
PART 1 – Noah = Grace
Noah in Hebrew means ‘rest.’ ‘When Noah (נח) was born he was named after the word: “Comfort” (Nekhamah – נחמה), so that the name would determine his destiny (Gn 5:28; cf. Berakhot 7b). But that’s not the etymology that the Holy One, Blessed be He, favoured. Noah is the symmetry (the reverse) of Hen (meaning ‘favor’ or ‘grace’ or ‘charm’). As it is said: “And Noah found Hen [in the eyes of HaShem]”. Hen is Noah [in symmetry]. (cf. Zohar 1:58b)
נח = חן
Noah and Hen (grace) are compromised of the same two Hebrew letters (Nun and Het). ‘Hen’ in Hebrew is one of 8 synonyms for beauty. ‘Hen’ corresponds to “Charm”. Charm is that aspect of beauty which expresses itself through the aesthetic of graceful symmetry; two inverse elements reflecting each other (נח – חן). As Noah was reflected in the Eyes of HaShem, he was found as Hen. In the pupil of the eye, the image one sees appears inverted, then the brain puts it right (cf. David Kimchi, Sefer haShorashim s.v. Ish). That is how in God’s eyes ‘Noah’ becomes ‘Hen’. The opposite happened to Er – ער, the firstborn of Judah, since his letters reversed and he was found as Ra – רע (evil) in the eyes of HaShem (Gn 38:7; cf. Zohar 1:58b). What made the difference with Noah? Scripture explains:
“Account of Noah Noah was a Righteous man” (Genesis 6:9).
The word Noah is repeated twice in this verse, thus alluding to the upper grace (Hen Elyon) and the lower grace (Hen Tahton). Noah below reflected God above; which is the mystery found in the words:
“Noah walked with God [Elokim]” (Genesis 6:9).
“Elokim” is the Divine Immanence (Shekhinah). So he became the foundation of the world (quite literally), as Solomon wrote:
“The Righteous one is the foundation of the World – Tsadik Yesod Olam” (Proverbs 10:25).
The Righteous one is the pillar for which the world stands. If there were not righteous persons on earth reflecting God, the world would not stand;
“for the pillars of the earth are of HaShem, and He has set the world upon them” (1 Samuel 2:8).
Remember how Abraham negotiated with the Holy one to save Sodom? Why [Prov 10:25]: “The Righteous one” in singular? Certainly Sodom would have been saved if there were more than 10 righteous in it, but it wasn’t saved by the merits of only one righteous (Lot). But on Noah’s generation, human existence was preserved only because of him, as the verse states:
“I am going to put an end to all people” (Gn 6:13)
“Noah was a righteous man, perfect among the people” (Gn 6:9)
“Noah found Grace in the eyes of HaShem” (Gn 6:8).
Noah was the 10th generation of mankind.
“The 10th shall be Holy for God” (Lv 27:32).
PART 2 – Noah was a Liar
We read that Noah was six hundred years old when he entered the Ark (Gn 7:6-7). And we believe that Scripture doesn’t record irrelevant or superfluous words. So if Torah says that Noah was 600 years old, it must be important. Now notice that Solomon hints us the two words: ‘Noah’ and ‘600’ in the verse:
“Charm is deceitful” (Prov 31:30); in Hebrew: ‘Sheker haHen’.
The numerical value of Sheker = (שקר) 600 (שק”ר). And ‘Hen’ is “Noah” in symmetry, as stated above. So under this Light we see that “Grace is Deceitful” hints us to “the 600 of Noah”. If we follow the logic of our narrative, Noah was seen as a liar to his own generation. The Midrash says that Noah built the Ark so that his generation will have 120 years to repent and turn to God. So during the 120 years in which Noah was building the Ark, the people of his generation didn’t believe him. This is the secret found in “Sheker haHen”; Noah is a liar. Noah was Sheker, שקר (deceitful = 600) when the floodwaters came on earth.
“Grace is deceitful(sheker)and Beauty is vain (hevel)”.
During the generation of Noah “the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair” (Gn 6:2). People were occupied in achieving the beauty of this world for themselves, unaware that it was going to disappear. This is “Hevel haYofi”; beauty is vain. Now, applying the mystical aspect to this portion our sages interpret here:
“The Torah which man learns in this world, will be vanity (hevel) before the Torah of Messiah” (cf. Kohelet Rabbah 11:8).
PART 3 – Noah = Messiah
Why there’s this connection between Noah and Messiah? Because the Prophet Isaiah alludes to both in the verse:
“Who has believed our message? And to whom the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, like a root out of dry ground” (Is 53:1-2).
Noah represents the rest that the earth will experience from all uncleanness. Just as the earth was flooded with water, in the time of Messiah the earth will be flooded with the know
ledge of God (Is 11:2).
Noah = Hen. ‘Hen’ is the acronym for: Hokhma Nistarah (hidden wisdom). And there’s no deeper hidden Wisdom than the Torah of Messiah. In the secret of Noah appearing backwards in God’s eyes, as explained above, our sages said: “turn it over and turn it over for all is in it” (Avot: 5:22). By turning once and again Noah, ie. the Torah, one finds its most inner dimension (the Torah of Messiah).
What does it mean that the Torah of this world is vanity before the Torah of Messiah? Does it mean that the Torah will pass away? Can even the smallest letter of the Torah pass while Heaven and Earth still exist? Not so. But Torah of Messiah will be on a new level, for it’s written:
“a [New] Torah will come from me” (Ez 36:26).
Of this our sages say:
“All the commandments of the Torah will be obeyed in a totally different manner” (cf. Hemsekh vKakha 5637, ch 18, 19, 21).
Because Messiah will reveal the spiritual aspect which is within the physical aspect of every command, as “the Physical commands are shadows of the spiritual aspect within them” (cf. Torah Ohr, Mikets 37b), so that we will experience the Divine (cf. Likutei Halakhot, Eiruvei Tekhumim 5:22).
In the time of Noah, when the flood came, no one needed to say that Noah was right. It was obvious for all of them, they were living the words of Noah. So too in the time of Messiah, none will need to teach their neighbour saying: Know God, “because they will all know Me” (Jer 31:34).
So Noah is the paradigm of Messiah’s salvation, of how the earth receives rest through the merits of the Righteous one, the Messiah.
Messiah ben Yosef is to be rejected, just as Noah was rejected. “Sheker haHen” – He is considered a liar by his generation.
“Messiah ben Yosef recognizes his brothers, but they don’t recognize him. This is an act of the Satan, who conceals Messiah ben Yosef’s attributes…if Israel recognized Yosef… we would have been completely redeemed already” (cf. Vilna Gaon; Kol haTor 2:39).
By Xus Casal | 2013