Thursday, 27 October 2011

Noah's Ark passanger list

Whilst doing daily study for my Hebrew Immersion project, I came across the following commentary by Rashi on whom Noah took into the Ark:

In case you cannot read it, this verse in Genesis (6:19) reads:
"And from every living thing, from all flesh, you must bring two of everything into the ark, to keep alive with you; they must be male and female."
Rashi comments on verse 19:
"And from every living thing" - Even demons (Bereishit Rabbah 31:13)
The commentary in The Sapirstein Edition of Genesis has the following comment on Rashi's statement:
Bereishis Rabbah 31:13. The verse could have said "and from all flesh" without mentioning "all that lives," and we would have understood that God commanded Noah to bring all species of animals to the ark. "And from all that lives, of all flesh" indicates that God commanded Noah to bring to the ark something that lived which was not of flesh, as well. This refers to demon, who have life, but no body (Mizrachi; Sifrei Chachamim).
For some further reading on demons, I recommend the following blog postings by Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis and his excellent book: The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism.
One thing that I would like to highlight is that there is a spectrum of opinion about whether demons (and angels) are real or not. On the extreme of the rationalist camp is Maimonides (who states that demons are not real) and on the other extreme is Nahmanides (who says that they are).