God is going to destroy the world, and Noach, his family, and the animals brought into the tevah will be the only survivors. Fairly simple; pretty straightforward – enter into the big boat before it rains too hard and everything and everyone is washed away. So why does God need to command Noach twice? And even more enigmatic, these two commands are listed right after one another – the first in 6:18-22 (concluding that chapter), and the second in 7:1-5 (introducing the next chapter)! Normally, when there are repeated words, phrases, episodes or commands in TaNaKH, there is a wider separation between the repetitions (and often it is the different surrounding contexts which help define the differing messages of the seeming redundancies). We can assume in our case, however, that because of their purposeful immediate juxtaposition and similarity of content, these statements are of equal weight and significance; in other words, one, singular command to enter into the tevah , split into two different statements: two sides of one declaration.
Listing the wording of both commands:
|And God (אלוקים) said to Noach…
|And The Lord (ה’) said to Noach…
|And I will sustain my brit with you…
|I have seen you as a righteous person before me in this generation
|Go to the ark, you, your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives
|Go to the ark, you and your entire household
|And from all the animals and flesh, bring two into the ark
|From all the pure animals take for yourself seven, male and female; from the impure animals, take two, male and female.
|And from the birds in their species and the animals in their species and from all the creeping insects in their species, two of each will come to you to live
|And also from the birds in the sky take seven each in order to sustain the Land’s produce.
|And Noach did all that God (אלוקים) commanded him.
|And Noach did all that The Lord (ה’) commanded him.
Looking more closely at the details of the first command, we can mark immediately that it is specifically אלוקים who speaks and it is אלוקים who Noach ultimately heeds. Therefore, we can assume that this command possesses a strong universal tone. Continuing further, what is this “ברית” that God is going to sustain through Noach? In Yirmiyahu (33: 20) it uses this word in describing the world’s natural system: “If you will break My brit of the Day and My brit of the Night; causing day and night not to come in their time”. This reference, along with God’s pledge after the flood, that “I will no longer destroy growth and harvest, cold and hot, summer and winter and night and day” (8:22) conveys to us once again – consistent with the “אלוקים” Who is delivering this command to enter the tevah – a universal, world-focused message vs. a specifically personal, Noach-oriented one. And the wording of the command for who/what to take into the tevah: 1) Sons, wife and sons’ wives – this generation and the progenitors of the next one; 2) two of every animal – simple, unembellished; exactly what the world will need to replenish its animal kingdom; 3) a collection from every species – to perfectly recreate the world to its original state, sans nothing.
The second command assumes a totally opposite focus: it’s the personal God Who is delivering the command and Whose command Noach will heed; the salvation is for Noach and his entire household (i.e. not about specific procreative facilitators of the future but a personal salvation of he and his family); pure and impure animals (an emphasized distinction only important to Noach and his family in regards to food and sacrifices); and the birds are specifically brought to sustain the land’s produce, i.e. facilitate the land’s future food production for Noach (and the rest of the animals) to survive in the soon-to-be decimated world.
What we can therefore readily discern is that in fact there were two destructions and two salvations actualized by the flood and the tevah, respectively. One which consisted of the destruction and salvation of Noach’s personal world; and the second was that of Humankind and the land, which were to be destroyed by the flood waters and then saved by Noach, his family, and his tevah. And this second ‘destruction/salvation’ formula fits perfectly into God’s original ‘reason’ for the destruction:
“And the land was corrupted before God; and the land was filled with chaos. And God saw the land and it was corrupt; because all flesh had corrupted their way in the land. And God said to Noach – ‘the termination of all flesh has come before Me; because the land is full of terror because of them’” (6:11-13)
From within God’s report and subsequent description, we see the blatant equating of the evil and corruption of the land and of the people who dwell within it; they are interconnected and symbiotically destructive. God therefore tells Noach that he must enter the tevah in order to facilitate a salvation for both! And what does God pledge after smelling the korbanot which Noach brought after the waters had receded?
“I will not continue to curse the land because of man…and I will never again smite the living things as I have done” (8: 21)
The corruption affected both, the salvation was afforded to both, and an eternal existence was promised to both.
But does it work? Has the Divinely desired symbiotic relationship been mended? Will both humankind and the land work together, productively, having received this ultimate of ‘Restarts’? When Noach exits the tevah he first brings korbanot and then he plants a vine. There is, on the surface, nothing special about this action – new world, new start, new planting. However, the Torah adds in a description of Noach as specifically an “איש האדמה” who had planted this vine – so within this simple planting we appreciate a greater symbolic expression of man’s reconnecting with the land! Noach became a ‘man of the land’ – he joined with the land, constructively producing from it instead of corrupting it!
And did the land respond, taking advantage of this new opportunity for a positive mutual relationship? In the next verse, the Torah continues that not only did Noach drink from the vine, but there was enough wine produced from this vine for him to become drunk from it; it produced enough for “gross” intoxication – the land did in fact respond to Noach’s overtures, producing plentifully.
However, this newly realized and mutually established relationship heralds an even greater triumph than the mere reversal of the flood’s destruction. When Adam was punished, God said: “cursed is the land because of you”; Noach’s vine, therefore, represents a complete reversal of circumstance, returning the land and its relationship with humankind to the pre-cursed state! Noach’s entering into the tevah didn’t merely restart the world as he knew it, but also returned the land to its original, intended condition. Two worlds – His world and the world – were saved when Noach heeded God’s command, thus perfectly fulfilling Lemech’s prophetic hope upon naming Noach: “[Noach] will be a relief for us (ינחמנו) from our labor and the suffering our hands experience due to the land that God has cursed”.
 Hence the midrash that states that even the animals were just as corrupt and evil as the people.
 According to the experts, one needs about 1.2 kilo (@2.5 lbs) of grapes, which is about 7-8 lush bunches, to make one bottle of wine. And if we assume that to actually get drunk at least a bottle would be necessary, this vine must have been fairly plentiful.