Noah’s Halaka

The second parsha of the book of Bereishis/Genesis is Noach. At the beginning of the parsha we are told that Noah walked with G-d.

Bereishis 6:9

Noah walked with G-d

There is so much that is lost in translation, when we venture back into the original language we find wonderful details that is lost to the English.

The passage in Hebrew is, “es-HaEloykim his-halek Noach”

Let’s look into the wording of this passage a bit closer

HaEloykim: The Name of G-d here is the same Name we are given in Bereishis 1:1, Eloykim. Which has the element of justice, it also means judge as He is The Judge of all His creation.

A judge is one who makes and upholds law. G-d created the laws that keep the creation in check, He gives all the different parts of His creation laws to operate by; without them wht world would not exist.

So we see here in Bereishis 6:9 He calls Himself, HaEloykim or as we can read it, The Judge – this is who Noah walked with, but there is more to Noah’s walk than meets the eye and it is found in the word that is translated, ‘walked’.

his-halek: This word points us to another word, ‘halaka’, which both words have the same root word that point the way we walk.

Halaka guides not only religious practices and beliefs, but numerous aspects of day-to-day life. Halakha is often translated as “Jewish Law”, although a more literal translation might be “the path” or “the way of walking”.

So as we can see that there is more to the story than Noah just walking with G-d. Lets look at the words together.

HaEloykim his-halek: We now can see that Noah had a specific way or day to day way of walking with G-d. G-d’s Name denotes justice and law for Noah walked with The Judge and The Judge had given man laws to live by that had been passed down to Noah from Adam. These laws guided Noah’s life and also made him righteous before G-d, The Judge.

Noah did not just live by faith as many today want to reduce their walk down to. No he lived by a prescribed set of laws that governed his life and we can see this in the wording that G-d chose to describe the walk that Noah had with Him.

The halaka that Noah lived by was the 6 laws that G-d judged the world by. There is a seventh law that G-d gave Noah after the flood.

The laws that Noah lived by in his walk or day to day halaka is,

  1. Belief in One Supreme G-d
  2. Not to blaspheme or curse G-d
  3.  Adultery – proper sexual relations between a man & woman
  4. Murder – respecting & honoring the gift of life
  5. Theft – being careful how you treat your neighbors belongings
  6. Courts of Justice

It is by these 6 rules of law that kept Noah and his family from perishing in the flood. These are the daily halaka that ruled his life. In doing so he also lived a righteous life before all that saw and knew him.

G-d did not arbitrarily bring a flood on the earth to destroy man without a reason – the whole earth had strayed away from these laws except this one family.

Now we have gained a deeper understanding of Noah’s walk with G-d by taking a look into the very words used by G-d in His Torah to tell us that Noah walked with Him.

Terry W. Hayes

10/2012

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