For the week ending 8 September 2012 / 20 Elul 5772
Safe from the Flood
Where did the dove find a leaf in a deluge-shattered world to bring to Noach in the ark?
From Eretz Yisrael, answers Rabbi Levi in the Midrash. While vegetation was destroyed along with everything else in the world by the fierce rains of the deluge, the Prophet Yechezkel says about Eretz Yisrael that "it was not rained upon in the day of fury" (Yechezkel 22:23).
The waters that enveloped the rest of the world did eventually flood Eretz Yisrael as well but left the branches of the trees they covered intact. Noach was able to judge from the leaf brought to him from an olive branch that the floodwaters had receded throughout the universe and it was safe to exit the ark.