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Parashat Noach -Educating Children In Difficult Times


Parashat Noach 2023Parashat Noach in a Nutshell

Parashat Noach is one of the most famous stories in the Bible. The story how Noach and his family are commanded by Hashem to build an ark of enormous size, then to collect the animals and care for them for over a year as the rains fall.

Noah is chosen by Hashem for he is the righteous of all men and entrusted with the task to save a remnant and rebuild the world after the flood.

Parshat Noach In A Nutshell 

  1. Hashem commands Noah to build in Ark
  2. The Flood
  3. Noah post the flood
  4. The Tower of Babel

Noach Righteous or Not?

Parashat Noac
Over the centuries debates have raged as to how to view Noah. Some view him as a righteous man. Others feel that had he lived in the generation of Abraham he would not have been viewed as the paragon of righteousness. The reason being is that he did not fight for his generation not get them to repent as we saw with Abraham and Moses.

In reading this story I am struck by a different question. In a world that was so corrupt, how was Noah able to keep his children on the path of serving Hashem? What were his parenting techniques that made him succeed with his children?

Noah’s Kid’s Names The Key To Understanding Education

Parashat Noah

I would like to suggest that the answer is hinted to in the names of his children. Shem Cham and Yefet.

  • Shem literally means a name.
  • Cham means warmth and
  • Yefet means beauty.

The names of Noah’s children are the key to understanding education in a world that is drowning.

Shem. Name. We need to define what we believe in a clear and understandable manner. Why are we different? Why do we believe in different things to our neighbors? Noah was able to answer his children’s questions in a clear manner.

Cham- warm. When it came to his beliefs he was warm filled with passion. Although he failed to motivate others. His own children were motivated and inspired by their father’s passion. Noah was passionate about his belief and created a house filled with the warmth of that belief. This warmth sustained his children when confronted by a world filled with values antithetical to his.

Finally, Yefet means beauty. Noah was able to share the beauty of his belief with his children.

3 Ways To Educate Our Children

Parashat Noach 2019

The three names hint to the three ways that we need to educate our children.

  1. Be clear in our answers.
  2. Provide a home that is filled with warmth and love.
  3. Finally to show and highlight the beauty of our traditions and values.

Whatever one might say about Noah, he succeeded to raise his sons to follow in the footsteps of their father, faithful in their beliefs to carry on the values that they had received through Shem, with Cham and Yefet.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Galit


    Dear Rabbi Lewin,
    I really enjoyed reading your unique take on Noah’s story, from an educational perspective combined with the beauty of our Jewish tradition and what we can take from it.

    If I may, I’d like to suggest that your interpretation can also reflect a parallel to God’s creation of the world, a couple of Parashot back:

    HaShem created the world with the word: “Let there be light – and there was light”.
    HaShem brought things into existence by *naming* them = “Shem”.

    Then HaShem *warmly* filled his world with substance = “Cham”. He created the creatures and took care of all their needs.

    And finally, HaShem looked at his *beautiful* creation with awe and the Torah says: “וראה כי טוב” = and saw it was good.
    HaShem appreciated his creation.

    Perhaps this parallel strengthern HaShem’s choice in Noah?

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