Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Noach

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


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

As Rashi points out, the Torah's careful emphasis upon Noach having been pure "in his generation" is the subject of a dispute in the Talmud [Sanhedrin 108a]. Reish Lakish explains this in a very positive way -- that Noach was righteous even though he lived in a very lowly generation, and had Noach lived among other righteous individuals, he would have been still greater. Rebbe Yochanon, however, casts this in a negative light -- that Noach was righteous according to his generation, but had he lived in a generation such as that of our forefather Abraham, he would not have been considered anything special.

Rabbi Yosef Yoizel Horowitz asks: considering that the Torah is busy complimenting Noach, why should we explain this as a negative? What do we need this for? "He was a righteous man, and he walked with G-d. But you should know, he wasn't really that great. I mean, considering his generation he was terrific -- but if he'd lived in Abraham's generation? Ach... nothing special!" It sounds like the original backhanded compliment.

Rav Horowitz explains, however, that Rebbe Yochanon is telling us that Noach was righteous _because_ of his generation. Noach reacted when he saw the evil and immoral behavior around him, and he perceived an obligation to rise above it. He strengthened himself and resisted the path of his generation to the Nth degree, rising to become pure and righteous. Had he lived in the generation of Abraham, surrounded by Abraham and his followers, then that which inspired him to become so great would not have existed, and he would have never been so inspired.

When we see immorality around us, he concludes, this must motivate us all the more to purity and righteous behavior! And if he said this one hundred years ago, we can only imagine what he would say today...


 

ARTICLES ON TETZAVEH AND PURIM:

View Complete List

The Hidden Essence
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

A Model of Possibility
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

How Humble Should You Be?
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Behind the Scenes
Rabbi Jeff Kirshblum - 5764

The Ballad of Mayer
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Parshas Zachor
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

> If the Analogy Fits
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

We Donít Know!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

The Importance of Being, the Importance of Having...a Rav
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

ArtScroll

Sobering Stories for Purim
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Early Warning System
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Knock Before You Enter
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Inner Flame
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Esther's Lesson in Nature
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Make It Perfectly Clear
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

See No Evil
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766



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