Below is a collection of Parashat Noah resources created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.
This is a growing collection. Check back soon or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you didn’t find what you’re looking for.
DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Question #1: Should you defend someone who did the wrong thing? In Parashat Noah, God tells Noah that He is about to destroy the world and tells him how to build an ark to save himself, his family, and some of the animals. The Rabbis criticize Noah for not trying to ask God for mercy for the people (as Abraham does for Sodom when God tells him about their destruction and Moses does for the Jewish people). Do you think it’s important to defend someone, or ask for mercy when they have done something wrong? If they “did the crime” shouldn’t they “pay the time”?
Question #2: “The devil made me do it!”After the Flood, God explains that He promises not to destroy the world again, because (Bereshit 8:21)
וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶל לִבּוֹ לֹא אֹסִף לְקַלֵּל עוֹד אֶת הָאֲדָמָה בַּעֲבוּר הָאָדָם כִּי יֵצֶר לֵב הָאָדָם רַע מִנְּעֻרָיו וְלֹא אֹסִף עוֹד לְהַכּוֹת אֶת כָּל חַי כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי – A person’s heart is evil from his youth (or, from the time he is born, according to Rashi).
Is “I couldn’t help it” a good enough excuse?
Question #3: Marital relations were forbidden during the Flood because they would have been inappropriate in a time when the world was drenched in sorrow. Is it necessary, or appropriate, for individuals to suspend their personal lives and aspirations when the broader community faces a serious crisis? Many people refused to have children during the Holocaust while others insisted on doing so as an affirmation of life. What would you do?
Question #4: Noah decrees that his grandson, Canaan, is to be a servant to his brothers. Does that suggest that, for all eternity, Canaan’s descendants are destined to slavery? Can such a “decree” be undone? Can it be that our fate is predetermined by the actions of our ancestors?
LESSON PLANS AND ARTICLES
Multiple Intelligence – Examples for Chumash – This lesson plan for middle school and high school students utilizes the story of the Flood as an example of a different educational approach.
The Biblical Stories of Creation, Garden of Eden, and the Flood: History or Metaphor? – This article explores the messages of key stories from Bereshit.
Teaching the Flood Story: The Importance of Cultural Context – This article explores the themes of the story of the Flood.
A Note on the Flood Story in the Language of Man – This article reviews the historical context of the story of the Flood.