Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Noach

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

"These are the products [children] of Noach; Noach was a righteous man, pure in his generation, and he walked with G-d." [6:9]

Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchoki) quotes Talmudic sources that offer two ways to understand "pure in his generation." Some say that this praises him: he was pure and righteous even in such a terrible era, and had he lived in a generation of righteous people, he would have been still better. Others, however, view this as a strong criticism: compared to his generation, he was righteous - but "had he lived in the era of Avraham, he would have been nothing."

Rabbi Dovid Mayer, Rosh Yeshiva in Bais Binyomin, Stamford, CT, notes that this is somewhat amazing. Let us accept that Noach would not have measured up to Avraham. Fine - but even so, how could he be considered nothing?

The answer, he said, is found in Rashi's next comment, on the words "and he walked with G-d." Concerning Avraham, G-d says that "he walked before Me" [24:40] - and that is the difference. Rashi explains that Noach needed support, whereas Avraham strengthened himself and maintained his righteousness by himself. Noach could not have been who he was without help.

Imagine, said Rabbi Mayer, a champion marathon runner who finishes a race in just over two hours. Another, much less experienced runner, takes nearly four hours - but that allows us to make a comparison between the faster and slower runner. The slower runner is not as good, but we can credit him with finishing the race.

Now then we have a bright guy who wants to finish quickly, so he goes through the race riding a bike. He threads his way through the runners (ringing that little bell on the handlebars), and finishes in no time at all. Do we give him a prize? Obviously, there's simply no way to compare the champion runner with this guy and his Schwinn.

That, said the Rabbi, is the difference between Avraham and Noach. Noach would be considered "nothing" because he's simply not in the same league. Avraham was who he was despite a series of trials that would have broken any lesser person - including Noach. And yet he "walked" on his own.

A person's stature is not determined merely by his or her "level," but by how that level was achieved. A bike rider is not a marathon runner, even though both have gone the distance.


Text Copyright © 1995 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Pesach In Command
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Cyclical Celebrations
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

To Be Chosen Again
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Liberate Yourself!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

“Letter to my Son Akiva”
Jon Erlbaum - 5773

Reading, Reviewing, Reciting
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

> Pesach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Significance of the Omer
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Pesach Food
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Prisms of Light - Reflections of Shattered Glass
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

The Symphony Of Life
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

ArtScroll

The Counting of the Omer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Matzah and Guideposts
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Why Women Saved the Day
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

The Sandwich of the Future
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5769



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information