יום חמישי י"ב בתמוז תשפ"ד 18/07/2024
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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Reflections

The Mabul – the Great Flood

On the 17th of the month of Marcheshvan in the year 1656 the waters of the great flood began to cover the earth, during the lifetime of Noach. Tremendous streams of water – torrential rainfall together with the wellsprings of the waters from the deeps – submerged the earth in a way that seemed to defy nature, and the entire world was destroyed.

David Sofer 04/11/2009 08:00
At the beginning of the second millenium from the creation of the world, mankind began to sin greatly. Men became accustomed to stealing and corrupted their natures with despicable and evil acts. How did they steal? A person would display beans for sale in the marketplace, and everyone who passed would taste a tiny amount, worth less than a prutah, a quantity that it is impossible to recover in court. HaKadosh Baruch Hu therefore decided to punish them with a mabul, which would kill all forms of life – but before putting this plan into action, He sent Noach to the generation, who was the only tzaddik of his times, to warn them of the dangers of their ways and to attempt to convince them to repent of their evil deeds and return to the correct path. HaKadosh Baruch Hu also commanded Noach to build an ark (teivah) where he would be able to seek refuge from the floodwaters, together with his family and those of the animals that were to be saved.

There were three storeys in the teivah: The uppermost storey was for the people (Noach, his wife, his sons and their wives); the second storey was for the animals; and the third was for refuse. Noach coated the teivah with pitch both on the outside and the inside (in contrast to the basket in which Moshe Rabbeinu was placed as an infant in the Nile River, which was coated with pitch only on the outside) since it needed extra protection against the intensity of the flood. The construction of the teivah took one hundred and twenty years – an extremely long time, in order to arouse the curiosity of all who noticed it, who would then ask Noach, “What are you doing?” Noach would then answer, “In the future, HaKadosh Baruch Hu is going to bring a great mabul to the world.” This was in the hope that within such a time span, maybe some people would be inspired to return in teshuvah; however, the people persisted in their wicked ways and rebellion against HaKadosh Baruch Hu, continuing to sin.

When the appointed time for the mabul approached, the people of the generation tried to prevent Noach from approaching the teivah to enter it – they even tried to demolish the teivah. Therefore, HaKadosh Baruch Hu sent wild animals to surround the teivah; bears and lions which killed anyone who came too close. On the 10th of the month of Marcheshvan Noach entered the teivah with his family and the intended animals, and seven days later on the 17th of the month, the mabul began. Noach was then six hundred years old.
Edward Hicks
Noach's Ark [צלם]

At first, regular rain fell, in order to give one last opportunity for the people outside to return to HaShem in teshuvah. Following that, the rains intensified and turned into a mabul – waters fell from above and rose from the depths for forty days and forty nights. There are various reasons given for why the waters fell and rose for this period of time: The people of the generation sinned against the laws of the Torah which was given in forty days and nights; their main sin was one of illicit relations, which forced the creation of strange hybrid creatures, and the essence of a new creation is formed in the first forty days after conception.

The waters covered the earth until even the highest mountains were submerged in water – the height of the waters reached fifteen amos above the highest mountain. The mabul was so intense that the earth was destroyed to a depth of three tefachim. During these forty days all the people and animals in the world were killed – birds, animals, insects – as it is written; “and all flesh perished… all that which had life within it… died… and all the forms of life which had been on the earth were destroyed… only Noach and those with him in the teivah remained.”

For one hundred and fifty days after the deluge the earth remained submerged in water. Afterwards, at the beginning of the seventh month (on the first of the month of Sivan, which is the seventh month after Kislev when the mabul ended) the waters began to recede, until on the 17th of the seventh month the teivah came to rest on the mountain-tops of Ararat, and on the first of the tenth month (the first of the month of Av, which is the tenth month after Marcheshvan when the mabul began) the mountain-tops became visible. Forty days after this, Noach opened a window in the teivah and sent out a raven to determine if the waters had dried up. But the raven did not fulfil its mission, and only circled the teivah. Once Noach realised this, he sent out instead a dove seven days later. The dove left the teivah but did not find anywhere to alight in the whole world, and so Noach derived that the earth was still covered in water. After another seven days had passed, Noach sent out the dove for a second time, and this time it returned with an olive-tree leaf in its beak – from this, Noach understood that the waters had greatly receded. The dove brought the olive-tree leaf from Eretz Yisrael where according to some opinions the waters of the mabul did not reach – according to other opinions, the leaf was from Gan Eden, and the mabul affected even Eretz Yisrael.

On the 27th of the month of Marcheshvan, a little more than a year after the commencement of the mabul, the earth was finally dried out. Noach exited the teivah and offered a korban to HaShem, Who accepted it and promised that He would not bring another mabul to the world – the rainbow in the heavens is a sign of this promise.

Until this very day the influence of the mabul can be felt in the world. The Malbim writes that prior to the mabul, the sun did not revolve on its yearly cycle at an angle of twenty-three degrees as it does today. The time for the recital of birchas ha’chamah (the blessing on the returning of the sun to its original place in the cosmos where it was placed at creation) is once in twenty-eight years – but if one calculates the number of years from creation, it emerges that one year is missing from the calculation – from which we can derive that during the year when the floodwaters covered the earth, the sun did not revolve as usual. In addition, Rashi comments that the hot springs in Tiveria originate from the time of the mabul – they began to flow then as part of the deluge of the world, and did not cease afterwards.