THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THIRTY-SIX

Previous Chapter

Chapter Three

Noach, Chayn & Yonah

God said, ‘I will wipe out man which I created from the face of the earth - from man to beast to crawling creature to birds of the sky, because I regret what I made.’ Noach found favor (chayn) in the eyes of God. Bereishis 6:7-8
Adam never answered the question "Aiyeka" sufficiently enough to be permitted to remain in the garden. The ten generations which followed moved further away from the purpose of creation. This made God "regret" His creating them and warranted annihilation. Only Noach merited to survive Divine retribution, finding chayn in God’s eyes [chayn is the reverse of his own name (Noach), and the root of the word Chanukah (chan uka)].

How did Noach earn this merit? The Torah says regarding the birth and naming of Noach:

Lemech lived 182 years and fathered a son. He called his name ‘Noach,’ saying that he would provide relief (y'nachamainu) from the work and toil of our hands caused by the ground which God cursed.’ Bereishis 5:28

He would provide relief ... He provided relief from the toil of their hands; for until Noach they were without plowing implements; he made for them ... the ground used to produce thorns and thistles when they sowed wheat because of the curse of Adam; in Noach’s day there was relief from this - Rashi

. Whatever Noach’s merit was, it had to do with chesed, and this was enough of a fulfillment of the purpose of creation for God to let him survive. For this reason, Noach also became a conduit of sorts for the Hidden Light of creation, binding him conceptually to the spirit of the chayn of Chanukah, which falls out on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev.
He [Noach] waited another seven days and again sent the dove (yonah) from the ark. Then, toward the evening the dove returned to him carrying a plucked olive leaf in its mouth. Bereishis 8:10

God said, ‘The olive brought light to the world,’ as it says, ‘Then, toward the evening the dove returned to him carrying a plucked olive leaf in its mouth.’ VaYikrah Rabbah 31:10

"He [Noach] waited another seven days and again sent the dove..." into the exile of the Greeks who blackened the faces of the Jews"... the dove returned to him carrying a plucked olive leaf in its mouth ..." Had not God enlightened the wise to light the candles with the oil of olive, the remainder of Yehuda would have been lost forever ... "a plucked olive leaf in its mouth." ... From the moment the leaf was plucked off in her mouth "twenty-five" was to dwell upon the Jewish people - the twenty-fifth of Kislev. Tikunei Zohar 13

How is the Jewish people like the "dove"? When Noach was in the ark, the dove came to him with an olive branch. God said, "Just as the dove brought light to the world, so too will you (Jewish people) bring olive oil and light it before Me." Tanchuma Tetzaveh 5

The Greek exile did not occur until the thirty-fifth century, almost eighteen hundred years after Noach stepped off the ark. Yet, the midrash insists on paralleling the actions of Noach with the events that led to the redemption and a holiday celebrated by lighting thirty-six lights of olive oil. What is the parallel, and just how profound is the connection? And, what does all this have to do with chesed ?

© by Mercava Productions

Next Chapter
Table of Contents
Main Chanukah page
Rabbi Winston's main page
Back to Neveh Homepage



The webspace for the Neveh Zion site has been generously donated by



send your comments to webmaster@neveh.org