Parashas Noach

Hashem tells Noach and his family as they leave the ark (Bereishis 9:2): “And the fear and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the field and every bird of the sky – upon all that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. In your hands they are given.” The Maggid discusses this verse in his commentary on Ruth 1:1 in Kol Yaakov. He says that the verse does not mean that Hashem instilled a natural fear of man in every creature. Were this the case, the animals would have total fear of every human being. But we see this is not so: animals often attack people. Rather, the idea is that people should overflow with the fear of Hashem so much that their fear of Hashem spills over onto all their surroundings.
The Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 70:11 and Midrash Seichel Tov, Bereishis, Ch. 29, Paragraph 10) discusses how Rachel had this quality. Yisro’s daughters would be chased away from their local well by the shepherds. But when Rachel went to her local well, the shepherds never disturbed her. The reason is that Rachel was a deeply righteous woman. As it is written (Tehillim 34:8): “The angel of Hashem encamps around those who fear Him and rescues them.” Rachel’s great fear of Hashem spilled over onto those who saw her, so that they could not touch her.
In this vein, it is written (Devarim 28:10, homiletically): “And all the nations of the world will see the Name of Hashem written upon you, and they shall be fearful on account of you.” That is, on account of your overflowing fear of Hashem, the nations of the world will be infused with the fear of Hashem also, and therefore will not harm you. Hashem’s statement to Noach’s family was along the same lines. Hashem was telling them that they should fear Him so profusely that the fear carries over to all the creatures around them. Upon attaining the proper level of God-fearingness, they would become immune to attack by other creatures. Thus our Sages say (Shabbos 151b): “A beast has no dominion over a person unless he seems to it like an animal.” This occurs when a person ceases to be enveloped with the aura of fear. Since the person himself is not fully imbued with fear, it goes without saying that no waves of fear issue forth from him to affect other creatures. But when a person radiates fear of Hashem, he is invulnerable.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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