Noah’s Tree of Life/Prologue 1/ Drunk and humiliated

Noahide Seven Commandments Torah classes

© 2014 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Noah’s Tree Of Life
These are Noah’s words to his children after the Flood…

Prologue-1/Drunk and Humiliated

Editor: These are the words of Noah to his children, Ham, Shem and Yeffet, written thirteen years after the Deluge. The beginning of the scroll, as well as its end, is still missing. The text was edited to fit a modern reader. </font size>

My drunkenness and humiliation
…I roll on the ground, drunk and naked. In one hand I hold an empty wine bottle; in the other I grab a piece of dirt from the tent’s floor. It feels…dry! The Flood is over! Joy feels my heart, as if I’ve discovered something new. I burry my face in the dry ground, it feels so good. No wonder people mock me as “Noah, the man of the ground.” (Genesis 9: 21.) A false sense of happiness, so typical of a drunk, overcomes me and I laugh; my entire naked body twists like a warm on the ground. I know that I am doing something wrong. I, the new father of humanity should have given a perfect example of piety to my children. Instead, I’ve desecrated the holy name by my drunkenness, yet I don’t care.

Editor: It is said: ‘Noh began planting vines’ (Ib.) Began, ‘huchal,’ can be read as ‘desecrated’ (Talmud.) </font size>

Where am I? I try to recollect my thoughts. This must be my wife Naama’s tent (as it says “And he revealed himself on the ground inside her tent,” (Ib.) I try to call her name, but my voice fails. The curtain of the tent’s entrance is lifted and someone enters. No, this can’t be her. Who is the intruder? My face is still buried in the ground, and I can’t tell. I lift my hand hoping that whoever it is would help me rise. I get no response. Who could the intruder be? Who would enter Naama’s tent without permission? Only our thirteen years old grandson, Canaan, can do this. I love him so much. During the Flood while we were in the Ark, Ham pledged that if he would ever merit having a son, he would give him to me to be raised as my own son. After the Flood, Ham begot Canaan and fulfilled his pledge. Naama and I were so happy to have him me. We showered on him so much love and I taught him everything I knew, hoping that he would become the leader of Mankind. Naama too taught him play music, dance and general art. To our delight, Canaan grew to become a good thinker and a poet, perhaps the best master of the Hebrew language I have ever known. Now I lie before him prostrated on the ground, my face down.
Is it the wine? My body twists even more on the ground with laughter. Canaan bends over me and tickles my back. I laugh more intensely, as his delicate fingers move up and down my skin. I am a child again, raised by my grandfather Enosh. I am so happy! But then he bursts in ugly mocking: “Ha! Ha! Look at Noah! What a disgrace!” I am shocked. My mood changes instantaneously as it often happens when I am drunk and I begin sobbing with self pity. Then fear strikes my heart, fear I’ve kept hidden in my soul for years. The fear is not about me, but about you, my children. If my beloved Canaan could have turned so disrespectful, would the rest of you follow his example? And if you don’t respect your parents, would you respect the CREATOR? And if so, would the Flood return?

Canaan however rushes out of the tent calling everyone to come and watch me in my shame. The bastard! I feel so humiliated, as if he has castrated me (Midrash). I attempt to stand up but I fall on my back, my face turning to Heavens. Then I hear the two of you, my sons Shem and Yeffet, entering the tent. I lose consciousness. When I wake up I learn that you took a garment, laid it on your shoulders and walked backwards in order not to see your father’s shame. Gently you covered your father’s nakedness, restoring my dignity (Genesis 9: 23.) Whoever honors his father does also honor the CREATOR. I curse Canaan to be a slave of slaves. By this I depose him from his leadership. I bless Shem and make him the spiritual leader of Mankind for posterity. I tell Yeffet to join Shem and be blessed by him.


Read also “Genesis Vs Science: Can they Match?” By Zvi Aviner,

To be continued