The Observant Astronomer

The passing scene as observed by an observant Jew, who daylights as an astronomer.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Older than Methuselah

Methuselah may have lived a long time, but there are hints in the Midrash that the longest lived human was someone else.

Rashi brings down the following three, apparently sequential, passages from Breishis Rabbah 23:3-5 in his comments to Breishis 4:22-25:

1. On 4:22 "Naama, she is the wife of Noah."
2. On 4:24 Seventy-Seven, the explanation of Lamech's speech to his wives that they had dissociated themselves from him once they had fulfilled the mitzvah of procreation because of the decree against the descendents of Cain after seven generations.
3. On 4:25 Adam knew etc., he explains that Lamech took his wives to Adam Harishon to decide the matter. Adam says to the wives that it is not up to them to make calculations about Hashem's decrees. They respond, well in that case, why have you separated from your wife? Immediately we have that Adam again knew his wife and Shes was born.

1. (Premise) On the basis of the sequence of verses and the midrash that Lamech's wives had had children, that these children were the ones listed in 4:21-22, including Naama, and that they were already born before the events leading to 4:24.
2. (Fact) Shes was born in 130.
3. (Inference) Naama was born before 130.
4. (Fact) Noah's children were born in or after 1556.
5. (Conclusion) Naama was at least 1,426 years old when she had children and lived at least another hundred years to board the ark.


Post a Comment

<< Home