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 KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

A Deafening Silence
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Not Just an Act of Kindness
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5766

Lag B'Omer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Holiness Applies to More than Bagel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Nothing To Fear
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Who Has To Honor Whom?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

> Holy Kitchen, Holy Sidewalk, Holy Workplace
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Leap of Love
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Growth Period
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Understand the Warning
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Cloaked in Dignity
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

There's Holy, and There's Holy
Shlomo Katz - 5760

ArtScroll

Love From Inside Out - Part 2
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

“Letter to my Son Akiva” (born 10 years ago, on Erev LAG B’OMER)
Jon Erlbaum - 5771

Why Is this Portion Different From All Other Portions?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

...And Hear It We Must
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762



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