The Shabbos Table – Noach: R’ Y. Sacks Shlita: The Tzohar & the Teivah in Our Times

This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my mother Chaya Rochel Bas Dovid Tzvi (Hareini Kaparas Mishkavah), my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,

It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:

-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel

-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta


-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili

_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka

-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis

-Yonatan Menachem Mendel Ben Orly, Eli Aharon Michel Ben Chaya

-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and other tragedies.

-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael during this dire time, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.

The wounded should experience Refuah Shileimah, the captives should be returned safely, the fallen should experience Kevurah and Aliyah for their Neshamos, their Krovim should experience Nechamah, the Chayalim should be Matzliach and Minatzei’ach, and Am Yisrael should experience Geulah.







Be”H, I will be translating / transcribing / paraphrasing Divrei Torah of my Rebbi, HaGaon R’ Yonason Avner Sacks Shlita. (Any inaccuracies, whether added, misrepresented, or due to omission and/or points lost in translation or context should be attributed to me alone. * = My addition.)







“The Tzohar & the Teivah in Our Times”



Based on:

Chashivus HaLimud B’Yeshivah B’Z’maneinu (Yomim MiKedem – Parshas Noach, Page 241)

Tzohar HaTeivah (Yomim MiKedem – Parshas Noach, Page 243)

Sichah – Parshas Noach: What is the Source of Your Inspiration?—parshas-noach—what-is-the-source-of-your-inspiration



What was the Tzohar?


The Torah emphasizes that when Noach was commanded to build the Teivah that it was necessary to provide a “Tzohar,” the Teivah’s light source (Bereishis 6:16). Rashi comments providing two Dei’os (opinions) from the Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 31:11) as to the precise definition of a Tzohar. R’ Abba Bar Kahana and Rebbi Levi argue as to whether it was considered to be a Chalon, a window or skylight, or whether it was a Margolis (pearl), an Even Tovah (previous gem) that would radiate.


Light from Within or Without?


In the Peirush of the Eshed Nechalim, R’ Avraham Schick writes that this dispute may be a broader Machlokes pertaining to one’s source of light of inspiration and direction in life at large: From where does one derive inspiration and direction? Is it something that must come internally, from within the Teivah itself, or must it come from without, from the sunlight shining outside the Teivah?


When one considers inspiration for Ahavas Hashem and Yiras Hashem, both models can be found in the Rambam; we find the internal model of Eisek BaTorah and Shemiras HaMitzvos (See Sefer HaMitzvos), and yet in Yesodei HaTorah (Ch. 2), Rambam writes that one takes a step back and looks out into creation, one cannot help but be inspired by his surroundings. Which was the inspiration of Noach? Was he called upon to see to it that the warmth and light of the Teivah was provided from within, or was he to glean from the outside?


Did the Sun Shine?


The Yerushalmi in Pesachim (1:1) writes that there is an parallel, interrelated Machlokes (L’Shitaseih, the corresponding opinions align) as to the role and functionality of the Me’oros (luminaries) during the Mabul (Flood). Did they continue to function naturally according to their typical course during the Mabul? Was their course interrupted? If in fact, the sun continued to shine, then there was a light source that could shine and permeate through a window to be enjoyed and absorbed from the outside in. But, if during the Mabul, everything was clouded and dark, then the only light source could come from an Even Tov shining from the inside.


To what extent is it necessary to be internally inspired in Avodas Hashem, and conversely, to what extent could one glean from without, the answer is: Clearly, it depends.


Two Structures


R’ Yitzchak Hutner (Pachad Yitzchak, Mavo L’Igros U’Ch’savim) writes that the Torah provides two models of structures, the Teivah on the one hand, and a Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash on the other. The Teivah is an oasis; when one is surrounded by storm and flood waters, the Teivah is an area of refuge. The Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash was a citadel wherein one was surrounded by Kedushah; it was the pinnacle of that holiness. R’ Hutner writes further that one has to recognize the role of the Yeshivah in different eras, and how it has changed. When one is surrounded by Kedushah, the Yeshiva represented a Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash, the pinnacle of Kedushah, but the Kedushah radiated from without. However, when one lives in a society where one is surrounded by Mabul, the Yeshivah must become a Teivah to insulate a person from influences without.


That confluence and convergence of the two models is critical. To the extent that one can glean appropriately Al Taharas HaKodesh, when the sun is shining properly, then sometimes illumination can come from without and then permeate within. But, the extent to which that is not possible, when something is at odds with the Toras Hashem, then it must be the Margolis, the Even Tovah that generates the true sense of illumination in the life of an Eved Hashem.



*We should be Zocheh to strike the delicate balance, to derive the light of inspiration and direction from external sources of Kedushah and light sources that assist that efforts, and knowing when to take refuge in the Teivah and find the light from within, and then, we should be Zocheh to exit the Teivah into a world overwhelmed with Kedushah, to enter the citadel that is the Binyan Shleimah, the Beis Olamim, the complete and eternal Beis HaMikdash with the coming of the Geulah and the arrival of Moshiach, Bimheirah Biyomeinu!