וְנֹחַ, מָצָא חֵן בְּעֵינֵי יהוה
V’Noakh matza khen b’einei יהוה
And Noakh found grace in the eyes of יהוה
Noakh and Khen are mirror images….
They mean “comfort” and “favor” respectively.
There is some irresistible imagery here: Noakh ‘looked into the eyes of יהוה and saw his reflection….’ the two letters in these words are “khet” and “nun” and they are symbols for “life” and ‘man.’
Effectively, the lifespan between Khanokh and Noakh was that of one man, Metushalakh.
Khanokh predicted that his death would bring ‘comfort’ in the struggle.
Noakh’s father said of Noakh:
“This same shall comfort us in our work and in the toil of our hands, which comes from the ground which יהוה has cursed.’
This has many, many overtones to it concerning Noakh. He was the first vintner! “Wine gladdens the heart.”
He gave the world a shelter that came out of the earth, which contained food for every animal on earth.
He caused ‘man’ to survive the flood, being the link between the first created man, Adam, whom he knew! and the rest of mankind on our side of the flood. There are about 1100 years from Adam to the flood; Adam live 930 years, Noakh was 600 years old when the flood came, so Noah was about 430 years or so old when Adam died. [I’ve done the math before, but this is from memory, don’t shoot me if I’m wrong; I’m certain I’m off by some few digits, but the impact holds nonetheless]
So, Noakh looked into the eyes of יהוה, poetically, and saw himself there. This is especially compelling, in that יהוה says that we are the “apple of his eye;” That is actually not the best/only translation of that verse:
שָׁמְרֵנִי, כְּאִישׁוֹן בַּת-עָיִן; בְּצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ, תַּסְתִּירֵנִי
Shamarti k’ishon bat-eiyin; b’tzel kanfekha tastireini
“Protect me as the LITTLE MAN in your eye! Hide me under the shadow of your wings…” Ps 17:8
The fact that it is a reflection is further ‘amplified’ in the following similar verse:
שְׁמֹר מִצְוֹתַי וֶחְיֵה וְתֹורָתִי כְּאִישֹׁון עֵינֶֽיךָ
Shamor mitzvotai v’khiyeh, v’torati k’ishon eineikha
“Protect my commandments and LIVE, and my Torah as the ‘little man’ in YOUR eye!”
Our request, then, to be ‘in His eye’ is doubly joyous, as the ‘wings’ about which he writes is the place where the tzit-tziyot are ‘wound,’ the corners of the outer garment.
When I am under my tallit in the morning, reading His Words, ‘looking’ into the “Little Man” [me] in His eye and He looking into mine and seeing His Word in them, this time is going to be even better. I’ve known this little gem for quite some time, but it always ‘gets’ me when we read this portion. Abba truly does want to be face to face with us. “Favor” from Him is having intimacy with a Holy G-d who, without the blood of His Son, Messiah Yeshua, must remain distant from us. With it, He draws as near to us as we are willing to draw near to Him!