Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How could Noach drink wine of Orlah?

Summary: if he was able to figure out the Torah? Rav Chaim Kanievsky asks and answers. Well, who says that he felt obligated to keep it? Or maybe he actually did keep the Torah, and waited to drink the wine.

Post: After Noach emerged from the ark, he planted a vineyard, and later, he drank of the wine and became drunk. Thus, from perek 9:

20. And Noah began to be a master of the soil, and he planted a vineyard.כ. וַיָּחֶל נֹחַ אִישׁ הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּטַּע כָּרֶם:
21. And he drank of the wine and became drunk, and he uncovered himself within his tent.כא. וַיֵּשְׁתְּ מִן הַיַּיִן וַיִּשְׁכָּר וַיִּתְגַּל בְּתוֹךְ אָהֳלֹה:

According to the Book of Jubilees, this was all done in accordance with halacha, so that he would not violate the laws of orlah. He waited a sufficient number of years before drinking of the wine. Thus:

(According to scholars, this is not entirely in accordance with the Temple scroll at Qumran, and so this may reflect some rabbinic tradition, as it accords with rabbinic halachah.)  But, if we ignore the book of Jubilees, and don't read in a pause into the pesukim, then it appears that Noach drank of the wine immediately. (And perhaps there it a midrash to that effect; I don't know.)

Rav Chaim Kanievsky asks how Noach could have consumed orlah if he learned the Torah. Thus, he writes in Taama deKra:

"There is to consider how Noach drank wine which was Orlah. For we say that Noach learned (הגה) Torah (Yerushalmi Megillah, perek 1, halacha 11). And there is to say that Noach erred and thought that that which came from grapes was just "sweat", and just as Adam HaRishon erred in this, as we say (Bereishit Rabba perek 19) 'she squeezed grapes and gave to him'. And this is what is stated in Sanhedrin 70a:
The Holy One, blessed be He, said unto Noah: 'Noah, shouldst thou not have taken a warning from Adam, whose transgression was caused by wine?' 

All in all, a nice construction. Of course, that need not be the intent of the gemara in Sanhedrin, that Noach sinned by consuming orlah. (Rav Kanievsky undoubtedly knows that this is an elaborate construction which can be disassembled.)

To consider the Yerushalmi, which appears in Yerushalmi Megillah 15a:
טהורים אבל לא טמאים מניין ר' אבא בריה דרבי פפי ר' יהושע דסיכנין בשם ר' לוי הגה נח תורה מתוך תורה אמר כבר נאמר לי (בראשית ט) כירק עשב נתתי לכם את כל לאיזה דבר ריבה הכתוב בטהורין לקרבנות 
"Pure species [may be offered on a private altar] but not impure. From where? Rabbi Abba son of Rabbi Papi, Rabbi Yehoshua of Sichnin in the name of Rabbi Levi: Noach derived Torah from Torah. He said: It was already said to me (Bereishit 9), '[Every moving thing that liveth shall be for food for you;] as the green herb have I given you all.' To what purpose to the Torah include pure species [here, that he should bring seven of each to the ark]? For sacrifices."

Translated and elaborated upon in accordance with Korban HaEidah. Now, this Yerushalmi does not state that Noach kept all of the commandments, like the Avos kept the commandments. All it says is that he learned Torah from Torah. And it is a very restrictive 'Torah'. He is not darshening basing on pesukim in Shemos. He is darshening based on 'Torah' which had already been commanded to him, the statement Hashem said to him, 'Every moving thing that liveth shall be for food for you; as the green herb have I given you all.'. And he reasoned based on that. This does not mean that he kept all 613 mitzvos, plus derabbanans and minhagim.

If we grant this assumption that Noach would keep all 613 mitzvos, then perhaps there are other outs. For instance, the Avos generally only kept the Torah in Eretz Yisrael, while Mt. Ararat is in Turkey. Where did he plant this vineyard? Let us run with a chutz la'aretz theory. The Mishnah in Orlah states that Orlah is forbidden in Chutz LaAretz as a matter of halacha. And,
The amora'im debated the meaning of the term halakha in this context: Rav Yehuda in the name of Shemu'el claimed that the law is something that the Diaspora communities took upon themselves, while Ula argued in the name of Rabbi Yochanan that it is a halakha le-Moshe mi-Sinai, part of the Oral Tradition that Moshe received from God at Sinai. 
If it is just a custom taken upon by the Diaspora communities, then perhaps Noach would not be subject to it, living before the acceptance by these communities. He would presumably be bound by a halacha leMoshe miSinai. But then, perhaps he would not know it, since a halacha leMoshe miSinai would not be something he could derive by being הגה תורה מתוך תורה.


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

I've never been comfortable with the whole "And he kept all 613 mitzvos". Really? He did an eglah arufah? He did yibum? He had a Pesach seder?
There is a much simpler answer, even according to the whole "Noach learned Torah" approach: Avraham served the angels meat and milk, Yitzchak covorted with Rivkah in semi-public view and Yaakov married two sisters. So how is Noach's Orlah different?

joshwaxman said...

True, that I am uncomfortable with it and that there is a simple peshat answer.

Yet this is an existing midrashic approach, with a basis in the Rashba (IIRC), that since all Torah corresponds to and addresses some spiritual reality, such spiritual realities preexisted mattan Torah and could be addressed in their own way by the Avos, spiritual giants who would be sensitive to this.

By 613, I don't think they mean eglah arufa and yibum, though they would have (according to this theory) practiced it had the situation arisen. Thus, Chazal try to see Yehuda as performing yibbum and Kayin and Hevel offering a paschal sacrifice.

You are right. Although there are answers.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

I've always seen the word "Torah" in this context like "Science". Science is not a book, it's a body of knowledge. Torah is not a book. It's God's will for how everything in Creation should act. By acting in consonance with God's will one fulfills Torah. IIRC Nefesh HaChayim uses a similar explanation when discussing why Yaakov Avinu married two sisters.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin