Mini We: Noah 5775 by Cantor Lipp

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 9:55am -- lcanfield

Why the beef? How does God decide that humankind should become Carnivorous? What is it about the Flood that causes this change of heart?

Three reasons: From Rabbi David Kimchi, A psychological approach and, what seems to me, what the Torah suggests as a work of literature.

John Houseman

Provencal Medieval commentator David Kimchi anticipates John Houseman representing Smith Barney who “....make money the old fashioned way: They earn it."

Rabbi Kimchi asserts that after gathering two of most animals, seven of the kosher ones, getting them on the ark, feeding them for a year, caring for them, and cleaning up after them that Noah and his kin have earned the right to eat them.

There are caveats. They may not consume the blood nor, according to later rabbinic commentary, eat of an animal before it has been humanely slaughtered. Bottom line: They earned the Brisket.

Channel Surfing

If we view God’s creation of beings in the divine image as a cosmic scientific experiment, we can see this as God’s attempt to channel our evil inclinations.

If we are -- as God now observes explicitly -- evil from birth, if selfishness and violence are impossible to root out of our free-will-loving souls, God proposes to channel those impulses toward the consumption of meat. With this dietary innovation God institutes a strict spiecism whereby human life may not be taken without capital punishment. If Noah's community was too likely to commit murder, taking out their violence on the animal kingdom in a controlled way may help them curb their predilection to harm one another.


If we read the text contextually, God's change of heart seems clear. Noah has offered a sacrifice following the flood which was neither requested nor required and God seems to love the smell. Right after this aromatic experience God self-consults and decides never to destroy the earth again by flood and to allow the consumption of animal flesh.

In any other culture of the time, the pagan god(s) would consume the meat of the offering; in fact, they might depend on it to survive. In effect God says, I don't need the meat so you, as my representatives on earth, made in my image, YOU eat them. 

Moreover, I hear God say to God’s self: “If I could decide never to destroy the earth again just from smelling that meat, perhaps eating could help humans keep from destroying one another!”

Now that’s something to chew on.

Pun Intended.

Shabbat Shalom.

David Lipp