We are all brought up learning about the 3 sons of Noach: Shem, Cham and Yefes. Shem was a Tzaddik, Cham was a Rasha and Yefes was somewhere in the middle.

In the previous post we mentioned the Chizkuni that the reason why Terach went to Canaan is because it was an inheritance from Shem and it was a holy and Godly land.

In this post I would like to elaborate on this point and try to clarify why Shem merited the land of Canaan. In addition, I would like to clarify the connection between Shem and Malki Tzedek.

After the mabul, the Torah relates that Noach planted a vineyard. When the grapes ripened , Noach drank some wine and went into his tent. He then disrobed and fell into a drunken stupor. His grandson, Canaan the son of Cham, walked into the tent and found his grandfather laying there unclothed. Instead of covering him up and keeping the matter quiet, he ran to tell his father, Cham, about his find. Cham immediately went into his tent and castrated his father. According to some opinions he even raped him. When Cham was done with his act, he ran out to tell his brothers Shem and Yefes what happened. This upset Shem greatly. So, he took the initiative and together with his brother, Yefes they took a talis or other type of cover and carefully covered their father without causing him dishonor. When Noach awoke, he understood what happened. There are those that opine that he was told by Shem and Yefes. While others theorize that he awoke immediately from the pain and understood what had happened to him. Noach was very upset as he wanted to have a 4th child. Therefore, he immediately cursed Canaan, who was the one to act inappropriately at first, and in addition he cursed Cham that he should be a slave to his brothers.

Shem and Yefes, who were sensitive to their fathers honor got brachos. Because Shem took the initiative he got the bracha   of  ברוך ה’ אלהי שם This means that only the descendants of Shem, Klal Yisrael, will be able to bless Hashem and not Cham or Yefes. To Yefes he said that from him will come great kings and rulers.



A few points about Shem

The seforim talk about the talis that Shem used to cover his father. It is compared to the talis that Korach said should perhaps be fully techeiles.

It seems interesting that Shem took initiative and got such a great bracha of the Shechina. Similarly, Pinchas received Birchas Shalom based on his initiative. – אין שכינה שורה אלא כשיש שלום

אין שכינה שורה אלא באהלי שם

We see that Shalom and Ohalei Shem are both pre-requisites for Shechina

Jews are called the Semitic people

The Gemara in Nedarim 32b; Bereishis Rabba 46;7 and 56:10; Vayikra rabba 25;6 ; Bamidbar Rabba 4:8 teach us that Shem is Malki Tzedek The King of Shalem.


  • When and why did Shem go to eretz Yisrael, when did he become king of Shalem?
  • Where is Shalem? Yerushalayim or Shchem. Elon Mamre was near Shchem.
  • Esavs clothes:  how they got to Esav from Adam see Sefer Hayashar Parshas Noach, What ultimately happened to them.
  • Terach was the general of the army under nimrod’s rule. he married Amatlai bas Karnevu.
  • Sefer Hayashar says that Shem was called Adonai Tzedek and was king of Yerushalayim, earlier in Parshas Noach he says the Avraham learnt torah from Shem and Noach between the ages of 10 – 49
  • there are those of the opinion that the name tzedek is found by different kings and kohanim who lived in yerushalayim and perhaps it is actually an ancient name for yerushalayim. the esteemed and elite residents of yerushalayim were given the name tzedek, i.e yehotzadok, Tzadok, Adonai Tzedek, Tzidkiya….

As there are more questions than answers in this post, I would appreciate your comments….