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    Restful Noah – No’ach

    God Appears to Noah, by James Tissot, c. 1896

    No’ach means “rest”, because he lightened the load of human beings by inventing the plough – the first machine that humanity ever had.

    In a second way he also eased the lot of his contemporaries by rebuilding civilisation after the great flood.

    However, the critics say that he did not try hard enough to save his generation from destruction. He saw their sinfulness but did not exert himself enough to bring them to repentance.

    In Yiddish he is sometimes referred to as a tzaddik im pelz – a righteous man wearing a fur coat who impliedly sends out a message, “I am warm in my coat – why are you complaining about being cold?”

    Another Biblical figure whose name means “rest” is Samson’s father Mano’ach, except that in his case he probably bore this name because he was a rather quiescent individual who left the action to his wife and son.

    The contrast with his strong, lusty son leads some scholars to say that Mano’ach could not have sired a son like Samson.

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