Separating Life from Death

When Noach was told to board the ark (Breisheet 7:7), the men and women were listed separately: “Noach went in, and his sons, his wife, and his son’s wives, with him into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.”


Rashi, quoting the Midrash in Tanchuma 11 states: The men separately and the women separately, since they were forbidden to have marital relations since the world was in a state of grief.


When the flood was over (Breisheet 8:16) and Noach and his family were permitted to leave the ark, the men were listed with the women, not separately: “Depart from the ark, yourself and your wife, your sons and your son’s wives with you.”


Rashi points out that here husband and wife are mentioned together since now that they left the ark they were permitted to resume marital relations.


In Breisheet 9:1, God specifically tells Noach and his sons to be fruitful and multiply the same way that he told Adam.


Radak mentions here that this is like a recreation of the world after the destruction and it would only be fitting to bless them to be fruitful and multiply.


It would not have made sense for Noach and his family to procreate while they were on the ark while outside the rest of the world was being destroyed. That must be why God asked them to enter the ark separately.


When Yosef was in Egypt (Breisheet 41:50) we read: “Two sons were born to Yosef before the years of famine came.”


Rashi states that from here we learn that a person may not have marital relations during years of famine.


In Judaism, there is a time for everything and having children is a very important part of the religion but there are certain times during the year and circumstances when marital relations are forbidden including Tisha B’Av when the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed, Yom Kippur (a Biblical commandment) and when sitting shiva.


As it says in Kohelet 3:1-2:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; a time to be born and a time to die…


As we read Parshat Noach and we see the world being rebuilt after the destruction lets hope for good news about the Jewish people, the State of Israel and the entire world!