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Daily PilPul

The male raven who suspected Noah desired the female raven and why Africans are Black

In the Torah it is related that seven pairs of each pure animal and one pair of each impure animal, male and female, entered Noah's ark. It is written "You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his wife; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his wife" (Genesis 7:2). The scholars asked why the Scriptures used the term "a male and his wife." Do animals have marital bonds? The female animal needs many male mates and does not commit to any one male, as is customary amongst humans. Answer: Only couples who were loyal to each other entered the ark. The scholars asked: How did Noah know which couples were loyal to each other and which weren't? Answer: The ark accepted those couples which were loyal to each other and rejected those who weren't through a process of miracle and holiness. One scholar, R' Avihu, explained that the animals which lived in bonds of fidelity were invited by G-d to the ark and arrived on their own volition.
The scholars continued to clarify the lives of the animals and birds aboard Noah's ark. It is written in the Torah that after the Flood ended Noah sent the raven to check the level of water outside the ark. "Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth" (Genesis 8:7). One of the scholars, Reish Lakish, explained that the raven complained against and criticized Noah -- why, the raven asked, did Noah decide to send the raven specifically, a species which has only one mating pair, instead of sending one of the pure animals, of which there were seven mating pairs each? To support his argument he said that if one of the ministering angels of the heavens, like the angel responsible for the sun or the one responsible for cold and chill, came and killed the raven, the female raven would remain without a mate, could not reproduce, and the raven's species would become extinct. Perhaps, the raven claimed, Noah decided to send the male raven because he desired the female raven and wanted to have sexual relations with her. Noah, who was hurt by the raven's accusations, answered: Evil raven, I'm forbidden to have sexual relations with even my wife, and you suspect I'd have sexual relations with a raven? The scholars asked: How do we know that Noah and his wife, and all the animals, were forbidden to have sexual relations while in the ark? Answer: Because the verses switched the order of the entry to and exit from the ark. When the entered it is written "You shall go into the ark--you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you." (Genesis 6:18) while when they left it is written "Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you" (Genesis 8:16). Two pairs of animals and one of Noah's sons had sexual relations while aboard the ark, despite the Divine prohibition against this, and so they were punished. The dog and the bitch were punished and so after mating they are locked together and do not separate. The male and female raven were punished and so he ejaculates his semen from his mouth to the female's mouth. Ham, the son of Noah, was punished and so became Black.
(Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 108b)


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