1. In continuation of the previous farbrengen which explained that the highest level of service of, “and Ya’akov went on his way,” is reached when we enter the “days of work” of the month of Cheshvan.1 However, a further completion of this service takes place during the week, and especially at the conclusion of the week (Motzaei Shabbos), of Parshas Noach.

The week of Bereishis is not a full week of “days of work,” since it includes Simchas Torah. Parshas Noach is the first week in which all the days are “days of work,” i.e. they are all days during which we are involved with mundane matters. On Motzaei Shabbos Noach, because a full week which was devoted to the service of, “and Ya’akov went on his way,” has passed, a new height is reached in that service. After the verse, “and Ya’akov went on his way,” the Torah continues relating how, “the angels of G‑d met him.” (Bereishis 32:2) This refers to the help which we receive from G‑d.

This verse speaks of two camps of angels — the angels from Israel, and the angels from outside Israel. This concept is applicable to our service of G‑d. We have two kinds of service: 1) the service of Torah and Mitzvos. There G‑dliness and holiness are revealed. This service parallels the Land of Israel; the “land which...the eyes of G‑d are always upon (i.e. G‑dliness is revealed) from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.” (Devorim 11:12) 2) the service of, “performing all your deeds for the sake of heaven,” and “knowing G‑d in all your ways.” G‑dliness and holiness are not as apparent in this service as they are in the first service. This service parallels the lands outside Israel. (It is outside the “place” where we openly see “the eyes of G‑d are upon it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.” A Jew must realize that he is met by two camps of angels; that G‑d is helping him in both these services; that through them both the Jew carries out G‑d’s intention of establishing “a dwelling place in the lower worlds.”

This lesson can be derived from Motzaei Shabbos Noach every year. This year the date on which Motzaei Shabbos Noach takes place, the seventh of Cheshvan, teaches us an additional lesson.

The seventh of Cheshvan was the day on which the Jewish people began to ask for rain. Why did they wait until that particular date? Because, “It is fifteen days after the Holiday (Sukkos), enough time for the last Jews to reach the Euphrates River.” (i.e. to come back home). It follows that until that particular date there was still a connection to (going up to) the festival of Sukkos. This factor contributes to the emphasis on the service of, “and Ya’akov went on his way,” because only then is the festival period complete and only then does our daily routine of service begin.

The fact that the request for rain was delayed until the seventh of Cheshvan underlines the importance of Ahavas Yisroel (love for one’s fellow Jew). Inspite of the fact that the entire land of Israel needed rain, still, everyone waited until “the last of Israel” reached his home on the Euphrates River. The entire Jewish people delayed their prayers so that even one Jew would not have difficulty making his journey home.2

This lesson is connected not only with prayer — as in the request for rain — but also in business matters, including matters dealing with legal documents. The Shach (Choshen Mishpat 43:47) states that a legal document dated “after the festival” refers to the day which falls fifteen days after the festival. This is because, “whenever the Jews made the festival pilgrimage they could not return home in less than fifteen days.” During the fifteen days it would seem to them that they were still in Israel busying themselves with festival matters.

This provides us with a lesson in the service of, “and Ya’akov went on his way,” as follows: The stress on Ahavas Yisroel that is displayed by delaying the request for rain fifteen days must also be brought into the realm of business affairs and legal documents. The oneness, and the closeness, of the Jewish people must not remain limited to activities in shul or in the house of study — or when busy with matters of Torah and Mitzvos — ; but must extend also into the area of business affairs. Even there Jews must stand unified and be as one.

When there is oneness between one Jew and another, then there is oneness between the Jews and G‑d. This oneness has effects even in the external world. That “to all the Jewish people there was light in their dwelling places, even while in — Egypt — in matters of this physical world.

And as Motzaei Shabbos is connected with David the anointed King, and also with Eliyahu HaTishbi Eliyahu HaGiladi; Eliyahu will come and spread the news of Moshiach Tzidkeinu — together with that which he will “return the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” And even before the time of the redemption, when we are still in a state of “slaves of Achashveirosh” there will be “For the Jews there was light and joy, gladness and honor — so let it be with us, as we have just recited in Havdalah.

The above will lead to the ultimate redemption through David Malka Moshiach, Moshiach Tzidkeinu; in our days.

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2. Commenting on the verse “and G‑d remembered Noach,” Rashi notes that the name for G‑d used in this case is Elokim, which generally refers to G‑d’s attribute of judgment. Commenting on the usage of this particular name in this context, he declares “(Although) This name (of G‑d denotes) the attribute of judgment, it was changed into the attribute of mercy through the prayers of the righteous.” Rashi continues to explain that “but, the evil behavior of wicked people changes the attribute of mercy into the attribute of judgment, as it says ‘and Hashem (the Torah uses the name Yud-Hay-Vov-Hay — which refers to the attribute of mercy) saw that the wickedness of man was great...and Hashem said, I will blot out.’“

This commentary provokes a question: Generally, Rashi explains each verse in its place. He does not force a student to hold his question until later for the explanation. In this case, however, the verse, “and Hashem saw,” (Bereishis 6:7) precedes the verse, “and G‑d remembered Noach.” (Ibid. 8:1) Why does Rashi wait to explain the first verse until after we have learned the second? Why doesn’t he bring an explanation for the fact that the attribute of mercy functioned as the attribute of judgment in the first verse.3

The force of this question brings us to the conclusion that in the case of the first verse, there is another possible explanation why the name ‘Hashem’ is used, and further, that only after learning the second verse can we definitely conclude that the evil behavior of the wicked can change the attribute of mercy into the attribute of judgment.

What is that other possible explanation for the first verse? Rashi has already taught that “originally it entered His mind to create it (the world) with the attribute of judgment (only). He saw (however) that the world could not exist (if based on judgment alone). He therefore gave precedence to the attribute of mercy and united it with the attribute of judgment.” Based on this principle, a student would have objected if the name Elokim was used instead of the name Hashem. The opinion of the attribute of judgment is not sufficient by itself; for G‑d to decide ‘I will blot out the man.’ (Bereishis 6:7) The attribute of mercy would also have to agree to the decision. However, according to this explanation, the attribute of mercy is not transformed into the attribute of judgment, it merely agrees to accept the verdict of the attribute of judgment. However, once the student learns the second verse, ‘and G‑d remembered Noach,’ where no other explanation than Rashi’s is available, he realizes that the same principle (of man’s ability to change the attributes of G‑d) was operating in the previous verse, and that then, too, man’s actions had the power of transforming G‑d’s attributes. (This explains why Rashi withheld this explanation of the first verse, and included it in his explanation of the second verse).

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3. Trans. note: Within the context of the discussion of his father’s commentary on the Zohar, the Rebbe Shlita focused on the Zohar’s two interpretations of the verse, “Noach was a righteous man in his generation.” The first interpretation looks at Noach in a negative light, commenting that, ‘In his generation (which was very wicked) Noach was considered righteous, but if he had lived in another generation — in the generation of Avraham, Moshe, and Dovid — he would not have been considered righteous at all. The second interpretation puts Noach in a positive light. It explains that Noach was righteous ‘even in his generation.’ “How much more so, if he was in a generation that was completely righteous.”

Based on the above, the Rebbe asked the following two questions: 1)When the Zohar refers to ‘another generation’ it specifically mentions the generation of Avraham. According to the first opinion, how can the Zohar say that Noach wouldn’t have been considered at all righteous if he had lived in the generation of Avraham, when Noach in fact did live in the generation of Avraham? Noach did not pass away until Avraham was 58.4 2) Rashi also brings both interpretations (see Rashi Bereishis 6:9), but he reverses the order; quoting the positive interpretation first. What is the reason for this change in order? One may try to resolve the first question that until age 58 Avraham had not established a relationship with G‑d. However, the Talmud states that Avraham was 3 years old when he recognized G‑d (Nedarim 32a),5 thus excluding this possibility. (The Rambam (Hilchos Avodah Zorah 1:3) says that Avraham’s recognition of G‑d did not come until the age of 40, and the Midrash places it later at the age of 48 (Bereishis Rabba 30:8). Nevertheless, even according to these opinions, Avraham had recognized G‑d for at least 10 years before Noach passed away; i.e. they were in the same generation.)6

In Torah Or, from a statement of the Alter Rebbe, a possible answer is derived. There the Alter Rebbe explains that according to Kabbalah, Avraham did not reach his true perfection until age 75. By that time Noach had already passed away. However, this answer is unacceptable. Because the question is asked within the context of Pshat (the Torah’s simple meaning), and the answer must also be understood within the context, without reference to Kabbalah.7

The answer is derived from Rashi’s commentary at the beginning of Parshas Lech-Lecha. There Rashi comments: “Go out — for your own benefit... — so that your character will become known in the world.” Until Avraham’s character was known in the world; his service did not totally eclipse that of Noach. Only after he left Charon, 17 years after Noach’s passing, did he reach his true level. Hence the expression (of the Zohar) “if Noach had lived in Avraham’s generation,” is appropriate, because Avraham’s generation, in the full sense of the word, did not begin until well after Noach’s death.

The answer to the second question can be understood as follows: Rashi explains the verse’s simple meaning. On the surface, it is very difficult to conceive that a verse which seems to be praising Noach is actually speaking of him in a negative manner. Therefore Rashi places the positive interpretation first. In fact, the only reason he includes the negative interpretation is that the verse itself leaves room for it, as is evident from Rashi’s commentary on the phrase, “G‑d walked with Noach;” ‘Noach needed (G‑d’s) support to uphold him (in righteousness).’

The Zohar however, is not bound by the rules of simple interpretation. On the contrary, the order it uses teaches us lessons of a deeper nature. The Midrash states that Noach “saw a new world.” Therefore, the principle, “Originally it entered His mind to create the world with the attribute of judgment,” which refers to the creation of the world, can also be applied to Noach. Therefore, the Zohar’s first interpretation is a critical one, representing the approach of the attribute of judgment which comes first in the creation of the world.

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4. In connection with the terrible event that took place last week (the murder of Rabbi David Okunov), it is appropriate that we connect it with Torah. We should establish a new Torah institution, a ‘Yeshiva over his grave.’ It would be especially appropriate that the new institution be dedicated to helping those who recently came from Russia. This farbrengen and this new institution will bring the greatest pleasure to the soul of the departed and bring it to the highest spiritual state of elevation as it stands together with the Rebbeim. This will bring about a great increase in Torah study and will be connected with open and manifest good. Not hidden good, but a good that we can perceive with our own eyes, even while in Galus.