12 October 2007
The commandment “Be fruitful and multiply” is mentioned in parshas Breishis and in parshas Noach.
At first glance it appears as a restatement of the same thing and Rashi does go on to say that in Breishis it’s a commandment and a blessing which is restated later in Noach.
The question still remains as to why it was necessary to repeat essentially the same thing in Parshas Noach.
This can be explained by examining the condition of the world before and after the Flood. The Bible mentions that Noach saw a new world and that the newness wasn’t only just physical. Prior to the Flood, the world (and its inhabitants) lacked the ability to refine and elevate themselves because they were totally dependent on Hashem’s beneficence. Once the world became so corrupted that it could not, by itself, purify and elevate itself, i.e. to do tshuva, the only “way out” was for it to be cleansed by the Mei Noach – the Waters of Noah.
The waters came down for 40 days and nights mimicking the 40 seah of water required for a kosher mikva. Thus, in essence, the commandment “Be fruitful and multiply” had been nullified by the Flood and needed to be renewed in the postdiluvian world. This was achieved by Noach whose name symbolizes tranquility and its repetition: Noach Noach indicates tranquility in the physical as well as the spiritual. This in turn is a further allusion to the future Messianic Utopia for we know that in the Ark there was a complete harmony amongst all types of animals, predatory as well as the docile ones. Additionally, the three decks of the Ark symbolize three levels of Creation: BY’A (Briya, Yetzira, and Aisya) where there will also be peace in the Messianic Times.