We all know that No'ah had 3 sons: Shem, Ham, and Yefet. With a few notable exceptions, Shem took Asia, Yefet took Europe, and Ham took Africa.
Ham's son is Kena'an. He was cursed by No'ah to be slaves to both Shem and Yefet, as one sees from the following verses:
|כה וַיֹּאמֶר, אָרוּר כְּנָעַן: עֶבֶד עֲבָדִים, יִהְיֶה לְאֶחָיו.||25 And he said: Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.|
|כו וַיֹּאמֶר, בָּרוּךְ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי שֵׁם; וִיהִי כְנַעַן, עֶבֶד לָמוֹ.||26 And he said: Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be their servant.|
|כז יַפְתְּ אֱלֹהִים לְיֶפֶת, וְיִשְׁכֹּן בְּאָהֳלֵי-שֵׁם; וִיהִי כְנַעַן, עֶבֶד לָמוֹ.||27 God enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be their servant.|
Rashi on יַפְתְּ translates it as "widening", as in widening territory (see also Targum Yonatan). Which territory did Yefet receive to widen its territory? North and South America. And the children of Ham were sold as slaves to both.
Notice the למו ("to them") that ends both verse 26 and 27. Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Seforno, and others grapple with whom the למו refers to in each.
In Ha'azinu, on the verse
לִי נָקָם וְשִׁלֵּם לְעֵת תָּמוּט רַגְלָם כִּי קָרוֹב יוֹם אֵידָם וְחָשׁ עֲתִדֹת לָמוֹ, Rabbeinu Bahye notes that the word למו is a סימן ורמז לגאולה (a sign and hint to the Redemption) that HKB"H will hasten it for the sake of His great name, as I noted elsewhere. I suggested there that למו has the gematria of 76, which itself can refer to 5776, or perhaps it means that its gematria squared equals 5776.
With that in mind, we can possibly say that the 2 למוs in Parashat No'ah should be added together to make 76 + 76 = 152. It was 152 years ago (from 5776) that the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed by the Senate to abolish slavery. However, the rights of blacks in America were not fully implemented. It has taken 152 years for No'ah's curse to wear off with the almost-full-term of President Obama showing its demise. The 152 years are a transition period before the Geula.
Now, in the year 5776, blacks in America are marching to protest the perceived racism among police throughout the country. Of course, there is no actual systemic racism among police, but there are a few bad apples. Nevertheless, the publication of a couple recent incidents throughout the country which show some of the actions of the bad apples give the perception of systemic racism. And so, the children of Ham are rising up in protest, as they did last year. One of them just last night took it to the evil extreme of shooting 11 cops, killing 5 of them in Dallas. Copycats are taking notice
No'ah's curse is finally ending. Kena'an is getting its revenge. Expanded Yefet better take precautions.
And what about Shem? Well, we always need to take precautions, both physical and spiritual ones. I find it interesting though that at the same time this craziness is going on in Yefet's expanded territory, Prime Minister Netanyahu is travelling throughout the Land of Ham, improving relations
with a slew of countries associated with it. In addition, programs like this
are taking place. Perhaps, the difference is that one למו ago, we too were slaves in concentration camps in the heart of Yefet (Gomer).
May Hashem allow Rabbeinu Bahye's למו to refer to this year and may we truly see peace in our land
and throughout the world. Amen.