Dvar for Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)
Parshat Noach contains the story of Noach and the flood, including the re-establishment of human civilization. Noach’s first act upon resettling in the land was to grow a vineyard (9:20). Why did Noach grow grapes first, and not wheat or barley?
The Sforno explains that Noach mistakenly planted for enjoyment rather than for need, a misstep that would later cause him to curse one of his grandsons, Canaan (9:25). Rabbi Henach Leibowitz further explains that while planting a grapevine is necessary for the future service of G-d (Kiddush, Havdalah, bris, etc), the connotation and association of producing for pleasure rather than for necessity was inappropriate. This distinction is an essential early lesson in doing the right thing. Sometimes doing something is not technically wrong, yet it may still not be appropriate for the person or the moment.