Every time I learn the story of Noach and the Maabul I feel fleishiks. The reason is that the word בשר which means flesh is mentioned in relationship to the Mabbul fourteen times including once at the end of Parshas Bereishis. This year I decided to get to the bottom of this theme of the Mabbul, Noach, and בשר.
The word בשר is mentioned prior to the Mabbul and that is in the parsha of the creation of Chavah. The passuk says (Bereishis 2,21) that Hashem took from Adam’s side during his sleep, and He closed flesh in its place ויסגר בשר תחתנה. He then built the side into a woman. The obvious reason that Hashem closed the side with flesh was so it should not appear as if Adam’s body was incomplete. However, the Igra D’Kallah renders an esoteric interpretation of this passuk. The Medrash says that now that the woman was created, the Satan was also created with her. They derive this from the letter ס in the word ויסגר for it is the first time the letter ס appears in the Torah. The letters of ש and ס are interchangeable since they both share the same sound. The passuk is thereby revealing that this is the first appearance of the ש which is the first letter of שטן. It was Chavah who seduced Adam into eating from the Aitz Hadass by the sly and deceptive talk of the Nachash accompanied by the Satan. The Seforno (2,1) learns that they are the same identity (as hinted in the gematria שטן and נחש including the word).
After Adam’s downfall, the world took a detour in order to reach its tikkun and that was through the Avos Hakadoshim and later by Am Yisrael. This is the deeper meaning why Hashem filled the side with בשר to allude to the fixing of the creation of Chavah and the chait of Aitz Hadaas by the Avos who lived their holy lives with the sum of 502 years the gematriah of בשר. To add another hint we will say that just as the ס of ויסגר symbolizes the ש the שטן who together with the Nachash brought about the downfall of Man, so too the Avos who the Zohar Hakadosh writes are symbolized in the three extensions coming out of the base of the letter shin, began the rectification of the chait of the Aitz Hadaas which was culminated by their descendants who stood before Har Sinai during Matan Torah.
Before the Avos undertook the colossal mission of correcting the chait of Aitz Hadaas and bringing the revelation of Hashem into the world, the task was first given over to the generation of Noach. The first source that supports this concept is from the gemarah Chullin 139b which brings an allusion to Moshe’s name at the end of Parshas Bereishis in Hashem’s statement of terminating the decadent life form that existed at that time. The passuk says בשגם הוא בשר and that the word בשגם is gematriah 345 the same as משה. What relevance does Moshe have to do with the generation of the Mabbul? Secondly, the Medrash Tanchuma gives an unusual lengthy elaboration of Matan Torah and the Torah Sh’be’al Peh in this Parsha more than it does in the Parsha of Matan Torah itself. The third hinting to this connection we suggest is from the word ויסגר. As we mentioned above this word was first mentioned in the creation of Chavah who caused the chait of Aitz Hadaas, side by side with the rectification of Man’s downfall by the Avos who are hinted at in the word of בשר. The second time that this word of ויסגר is mentioned is by Hashem’s closing of the Ark’s door ויסגר ה’ בעדו. All three points are telling us that the generation of the Mabbul possessed high souls that were capable of receiving the Torah with the leadership of Moshe Rabbeinu had they not succumbed to the pleasures of their flesh and bodies. בשגם הוא בשר means that even the spirit they transformed into flesh which should have been vice versa. Had the generation disciplined their בשר by שבר breaking and taking control of it they would have merited bringing the world to its destiny. The closing of the door of the Ark by Hashem meant that the world will have to wait for an Avraham Avinu to bring about the tikkun of revealing Hashem’s presence and glory into the world in the generation of Moshiach. This is where the third appearance of the word סגר plays its role with Avraham Avinu. Avraham goes to save Lot his nephew with the malachim to the city of Sodom. When the riotous town folk attempted their decadence on Lot’s guests, Avraham and the malachim, the malachim closed the door shut ואת הדלת סגרו (Bereishis 19,10). The Chazal tell us that Lot was carrying the neshama of Dovid Hamelech as the Medrash says on the passuk מצאתי דוד עבדי where did you find Dovid? In Sodom (Bereishis Rabba 41,4). As the meforshim explain that after Lot was saved from destruction, he fathered from his daughters the seeds of Moshiach, one Ruth Hamoavi who was the great grandmother of Dovid Hamelech and the other was Naamah who was an Ammonite who together with Shlomo Hamelech gave birth to Rechavam the lineage of Moshiach. The saving of Lot from the decadent rioting townsman of Sodom put into motion the future success of fixing the ויסגר at the creation of Chavah.
We are told that by man elevating his בשר with the שבר process as the first two letters of his name אדם suggests אד to break, he also sanctifies the other three levels of creation. There are four levels, דומם being the lowest the inanimate, next is the vegetative called צומח followed by the חי which is the animal life and topped with the highest level which is אדם who is called מדבר. An incredible hinting to this elevation process is that the gematriah of all four levels דומם צומח חי מדבר (including the four names) equals בשר. The tikkun of Man’s flesh, can elevate and sanctify all levels of the world. This is how our Avos became a מרכבה לשכינה. This is the biggest ברכה when we can sanctify the other three levels to Hashem by sanctifying ourselves. This is hinted in the first word of Birkas Kohanim יברכך which is the gematriah of דומם צומח חי. The stunting of this elevation is the sole devotion of the Four Galiyos whose acronymרומי בבל יון מדי also equals דומם צומח חי. The entire intent of לבן הארמי was also to destroy Yaakov in order that he should not elevate דומם צומח חי which is also gematria הארמי.
Torah is compared to water אין מים אלא תורה. The generation of the Flood could have merited having a downpour of Torah knowledge and insight into Hashem if they would have hallowed their bodies. The waters that would have descended would have been that of beracha and fulfillment with the closeness to Hashem. They really “missed the boat” of bringing the destiny of the entire universe to its fruition. However, Noach did rectify his own בשר even though he failed to elevate his generation to his level. He and his family were saved in the Taivah with measurements representing the inner tikkun of the בשר of Man. Take the word בשר and spell it with its inner letters בית שין ריש. These inner letters hold the code of why Noach was spared from the Mabbul. The letter ת stands for תבה. Its measurements were the width of ן which is fifty cubits, the length was ש 300 cubits, and the height was 30 cubits which we arrive at by adding the remaining three inner letters of ייי, ten each!!!
That is why Noach had to bring into the Taivah all levels of creation from drinking and a precious stone for illumination, both of which possess an inanimate nature, vegetation for food, animals, birds, and crawling creatures, and lastly humans the מדבר. The sefarim tell us that all these levels that were held in the Taiva and began the new world after the Flood, were all a result of Noach’s בשר and included in his malchus and influence of righteousness. Even the earth was perverted by Man’s decadence for it grew different species than the one planted. Noach’s Taiva was a reflection of his בשר’s elevation and sanctity as was everything in his Taiva which was influenced by it.
The Zohar Hakadosh writes that the Taivah and Noach symbolized Shabbos as we find that Noach’s name refers to the word מנוחה. For us, this indicates that the kedushas Shabbos can help us in making our בשר more holy and a greater vessel to elevate the four levels of creation. On Shabbos we receive the neshamah yesairah which is enlightenment and wisdom to get closer to Hashem. The passuk says concerning Shabbos (Shmos 31,13)לדעת כי אני ה’ מקדשכם on Shabbos we can get to know Hashem better which translates into more kedusha. Note that the gematriah of לדעת is exactly the same as מקדשכם. And the four levels of creation דומם צומח חי ומדבר add up to לדעת and מקדשכם.
The fourteen times it says בשר in the Torah concerning the failure of Man, conveys די (14) enough קץ כל בשר בא לפני. Too much body meat and not enough spirit were the cause of their downfall. The Avos came and they brought a new type of בשר into the world, one that comes from שבר. We daven for Moshiach and Eliyahu Hanavi in the form of the request ויבשר לנו בשורות טובות. News that is good tidings comes with בשר of kedusha and avodas Hashem. Going to a fancy Meat Restaurant or having a festive barbeque feast won’t get you anywhere of essence. You will only fill your stomach and empty your wallet, and fatten your waist with what will turn into waste. However, to be fleishiks together with the Avos, that will lead you to meet the highest of the high and the deepest of the deep Hashem Yisbarach Shmo. Meet the Avos and you will fill your soul with spiritual nourishment and empty your finiteness. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to make the right choice.