The Parsha Discussion with Alex Israel — Noach: Getting Drunk

Posted by Alex Israel on October 29, 2019
Topics: The Parsha Discussion, Bereishit (Genesis), Noach

Wine, drunkenness, humiliation, and a curse. There are many questions in this story, but Rabbi Alex Israel will focus on one simple question. Why did Noach get drunk? Why was getting drunk the first thing he did after the flood?

After Noah emerges from the Ark, we read the following disturbing story:

Noah, the tiller of the soil, began by planting a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and he uncovered himself within his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a cloth, placed it against both their backs and, walking backward, they covered their father’s nakedness; their faces were turned the other way, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah woke up from his wine and learned what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; The lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” (9:20-25)

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About Alex Israel

Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.

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