Simcha's Torah Stories - Noach

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Parshat Noach


Avi, I have a question for you.

Go ahead, Chaim.

Which sin is more serious -- stealing or rebelling against G-d?

Chaim, where do you come up with these questions? Let's see. One way to determine which sin is more serious is to look at the punishment given for each one. A thief must give back the object that he stole in order to avoid further punishment. In some cases, he must also pay a fine of double or four or five times the value of the stolen object. These are all monetary punishments. One who rebelled against G-d (in the days of the Beis HaMikdash) received capital punishment. Therefore, I would say that rebellion is a more serious crime than stealing.

Avi, I agree with you one hundred percent. Your answer however raises another question.

Go ahead, Chaim.

In this week's Torah portion, Parshas Noach, we have two generations that were punished for crimes committed by large numbers of people. The generation of Noach was guilty of chamas, (stealing). What was their punishment?

They all died in the flood.


Toward the end of the parsha, we read about the Dor Haflaga (Generation of the Tower of Babel). They erected a very tall tower. Their goal was to reach the heavens and wage war against G-d. They committed the sin of rebelling against G-d. What was their punishment?

G-d made them forget their native tongue, the language that united them. Instead, they all began to speak different languages. No one could understand each other. They began quarreling, their gigantic building project stopped, and they were scattered around the world.

Correct again! Now, according to what you said before, Avi, the sin of the Dor Haflaga was much worse that that of the generation of Noach. The Dor Haflaga rebelled against G-d, a capital crime. Whereas the generation of Noach stole, a monetary crime. Why then did Noach's generation receive the punishment of death, while the Dor Haflaga was allowed to live? It just doesn't make sense.

Chaim! You are brilliant.

Thank you Avi. Why do you say that?

You asked the same question that our sages ask!


Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the Talmud and Bible commentator who is known to us as Rashi addresses that very same question. He agrees with you that the crime of the Dor Haflaga was much worse. However, they had a good quality, which was able to counteract the devastating effects of their crime.

Really! What was that good quality?

Unity. There was peace and cooperation among the builders of the Tower of Babel. After all, they unified to build this huge tower. When G-d judged them, He took into account the seriousness of their crime. That alone would have doomed them to destruction. However, their peace and cooperation saved them. That is the power of unity and peace between people. It can save from destruction.

Avi, you have inspired me to really promote unity. At home, at school, in the neighborhood. Whatever we do, we can accomplish more when we are together.

That's the spirit Chaim! United we stand!

Simcha's Quiz

You are given 10 baskets. 9 of the baskets each have 10 balls weighing 10 kg per ball, however one basket has 10 balls weighing 9 kg each. All the balls and baskets are identical in appearance. You are asked to determine which basket contains the 9 kg balls. You have a suitable scale, but may only take a single measurement. No other measurements may be taken (like trying to determine by hand). You may remove balls from the baskets but may still only take one measurement.

How do you do it?

Answer to Last Week's Question


Arrange the digits 1-9 inclusive to form two numbers, one of which is the square of the other.

There are two possible solutions. Can you find them both?

The Answer!

567 squared which equals 321,489
854 squared which equals 729,316

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