What’s bothering Rashi about Noah?


BCC member Maggie Anton has written an article on the Jewish Journal this week, about Rashi’s interpretation on the Noah story.  

While Paramount’s “Noah” movie has sold plenty of tickets, audience reaction has been mixed. Yet whether people love the film or loathe it, one reaction seemed universal. Viewers have had lots of questions, particularly about how far the movie strays from the biblical text and where the screenwriters, Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel (both Jewish, though professed atheists), got their ideas.

Rabbi Shlomo Yizhaki, the French medieval scholar and commentator better known as Rashi, also had questions about the Noah story, for his writings provide a great many answers. To this day, Rashi is still accepted as the Bible’s most authoritative commentator, and he drew upon the breadth of rabbinic literature (including some no longer extant), to clarify the plain meaning of a text so even a bright child could understand it. At the same time, his work is the basis for many profound legal analyses and mystical discourses.

For almost a thousand years, Jews have begun their Torah studies by asking, “What’s bothering Rashi?”

So what is bothering Rashi about the Noah story? Starting with the simple and concluding with the sublime, let’s look at how he explains some of the difficulties with Noah.

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