Man makes choices on the basis of three principles of motivation. Either the experience is intrinsically good, or it looks good, or it feels good. Each one is exclusive of the other. One can determine intellectually that a particular choice is morally and ethically good and therefore he will choose to do it whether or not it feels good or looks good in the eyes of others. One may base his life experiences on how it appears in the eyes of others, his peer group, society etc. even though his intelligence tells him his actions are inappropriate and are damaging to himself and to others. For these people, being accepted by others is his absolute deciding factor for everything. Yet another person gravitates towards the experiences of pleasure irrelevant if the pleasure is detrimental to him or not, physical emotionally or psychologically. The only criteria are his bodily ecstasy, and whether this gratifying experience will look good in the eyes of others or not, is not even a consideration.

All three motivators played a major role in the downfall of Adam Harishon when he ate from the Aitz Hadaas. The Torah describes three principles that were employed in enticing Adam to partake of its fruit. כי טוב העץ למאכל it will feel good. Secondly, תאוה לעינים my wife and the Nachash are pressuring me to eat and conform to their ideas. I will look good in their eyes and not feel rejected and an outsider. Thirdly,  ונחמד להשכיל and my intellect agrees that it is a good experience for then I can be more divine and G-dly והייתם כאלהים.

The downfall of אדם is that he was motivated to transgress Hashem’s prohibition by involving the forces of motivation coming from א) אשתו environmental pressure ב) דעת lure of intellect and the דעת of the Nachash  ג) מאכל physical pleasure which spells the acronym of אדם . This is what Hashem meant when he asked Adam איכה where are you? Your name suggests אדמה, I will emulate and be similar to Hashem since I am a Tzelem Elokim. However, that אדם of following Hashem has departed, and you are left now with the manipulated אדם by אשה דעת מאכל from outside forces. Man must possess an inner control and discipline of his three motivators in order to align himself to the ratzon of Hashem.

We suggest that Yaakov Avinu who was the choice of all the Avos exemplified the purification of the three motivators in life. He was not affected by his environment and pressured into living the Big Lie. He lived with Lavan and testified on himself that he didn’t stray an inch from keeping all the mitzvos of the Torah ולא למדתי ממעשיו הרעים. He was also totally in control of all his pleasures as Chazal tell us that Reuvein his Bechor was from his first droplet of semen at the age of 84.  Yaakov was also the pillar of intellect the daas of Torah which gave him the character title of Middas Emes.  

In this week’s parsha we are told of the destruction of the world by Hashem’s bringing a Flood upon humanity and His saving of Noach and his mishpacha in a Taivah. His three sons שם חם יפת were the roots from whom the future human race descended. Each son gravitated towards one of these three motivators. Shem served as the Kohen Gadol in Yerushalayim. He led a Bais Medrash of learning. He followed the intellect in which the neshamah resides. He is called Shem, the name, referring to a spiritual intelligence like Adam Harishon who demonstrated his spiritual intellect by calling all the animals their names which described their שם which coded their spiritual makeup what lay inside of them. Out of Shaim, descended Avraham and Klal Yisrael the דעת of the world, the experiences of what is good.

Noach’s son יפת was guided in life by beauty and what looks good. The Greeks descended from Yefes who were known for the appreciation of beauty, architecture, and music. They initiated the Olympic Games which characterized the beauty and power of the physical body and their super feats in order to gain prestige in the eyes of others. If it looks good do it.

Cham symbolized the principle of bodily pleasure and enjoyment which drove him to experience only what produced such results. Cham means body heat. Cham was easily aroused and would not try to control his physical appetites to gratify his pleasures. It was Cham who cohabitated in the Taiva even though it was prohibited. It was Cham who castrated his father or had homosexual relations with him. If it feels good do it was his motto. 

Noach, who fathered these three children who symbolize the prime motivators of the future humanity, possessed all three “goods” channeled into spirituality מעשים טובים (Rashi Bereishis 6,9). The passuk says נח איש צדיק תמים היה בדורותיו את האלהים התהלך נח. The Baal Haturim says האלהים התהלך נח the end letters of these three words spell חכם. Noach was motivated by spiritual intellect and recognition of Hashem and in this manner he strove to fix the falling of Adam of eating from the Aitz Hadaas because of ונחמד להשכיל.


Noach also did not follow herd conformity, the ways and lifestyles of his generation, and did not experience life through the lens of his peer pressure or culture. In this way, he strove to correct the falling of Adam by being enticed with תאוה הוא לעינים. Concerning Noach, the Torah testifies מצא חן בעיני ה’ (6,8) that one must look good in the eyes of Hashem even though through such conduct he was considered a pariah by his environment.

The Torah testifies that Noach was a צדיק the term tzadik which is applied to one who is שומר הברית restrains himself from immorality and prohibited relations. While his generation was decadent in this manner as the passuk describes כי השחית כל בשר את דרכו על הארץ, Noach remained a tzadik and did not follow his animal instincts to experience immoral bodily pleasures. In this fashion, he strove to make a tikkun to the motivator of lust and desire of physical pleasure of  טוב העץ למאכל which caused the downfall of Man.

However, after Noach left the Taivah the Torah relates that he planted a vineyard ויטע כרם.  According to the opinion that the Aitz Hadaas was a vine, Noach by planting a vine was feeling an arrogance that he already made the proper tikkun since he is the second edition of Man in a new world. Little did he know that it was Shem’s descendants, the Avos and Klal Yisrael, who were the true Second Edition of Man. Until this point, Noach took all three motivators and channeled them into the service of Hashem. This act of planting the vineyard motivated by the feeling of pride and self-accomplishment led to no good just as we found by Adam Harishon. According to Chazal the Aitz Hadaas was also a vine with grapes. This planting and partaking from it compromised the three principles that Noach once controlled and purified for the good. For uncontrolled drinking of wine causes immorality as we find by Sotah where the Kohen tries to persuade the Sotah to admit to her guilt by saying this is what drinking excess wine causes. It also clouds up the intellect and vision, and thirdly because of both of these, you don’t find favor in the eyes of Hashem.
 The Torah describes Noach at this juncture of time as ויחל נח איש האדמה . Instead of being the את האלקים with Hashem, he is now described as איש האדמה the earthly man. Before planting the vine he was איש צדיק תמים and not ויחל he is called חולין profane and mundane. What happened? By planting the vineyard and partaking from it he demonstrated the compromising of his three motivators of his children שם חם ויפת.
 Everyone possesses a שם חם ויפת inside of him during one time or another. One can easily sin by falling into the pursuit of pleasure or because he feels the pressure to look good and be accepted by those who sway him, or he can be intellectually deceived by his own self-interests. What is the advice to purify ourselves from these three motivators that are deviant and can cause us a great downfall?

The answer is tefillah which is called שיח as we find in the passuk ויצא יצחק לשוח בשדה and Chazal say the שיח means tefillah. It is no coincidence that שיח is the acronym of the three motivators שם חם ויפת. This demonstrates that through sincere tefillah and deveikus one can subjugate and channel these three drives into kedusha and enlist them in the role to achieve shelaimus. This avodah is hinted in the three steps we take before Shemoneh Esrai to parallel the tikkun of these three motivaters. The time of tefillah is a time of conscious subjugation to Hashem the master of the universe. Even the word שח means to bend and prostrate oneself. שיח also means to drench with tears as Dovid Hamelech said (Tehillim 8,6) אשחה בכל לילה מטתי. A heartful tefillah to Hashem that includes tears demonstrates deep sincerity and specializes one’s tefillah that it is guaranteed to be accepted above שערי דמעות לא ננעלו. Such a tefillah can purify our motivations towards the fulfillment of our tachlis in life and deepen our relationship with Hashem.

The Zohar writes that Noach paralleled Shabbos. We can explain it in the same way. Noach was saved from annihilation because he purified the three motivators in the arena of free choice. So too, Shabbos with the neshama yesairah that a Yid receives’ helps to purify his three motivators, correct them, and channel them to serve Hashem. An allusion to this is the gematriah of שיח  spelled with its hidden letters שין יוד חת which is the gematriah of בכח יום שבת. With this, we can understand why the sefarim stress the inyan of tefillah of Shabbos more than the days of the week.