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 YISRO AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

Patience For One's Parents
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Two Tablets: Prescription for Jewish Observance
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5769

Shabbos Speak
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

> The Dowry
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Whose Torah?
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Eliezer -- The Son of Moshe Rabbeinu
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Shearings and Shearlings
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

An Investment In Our Future
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Echoes of Sinai
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

ArtScroll

Proper treatment of the Convert
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

The Key to Jewish Continuity
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Preparing to Receive The Torah
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Two Types of Perfection
Shlomo Katz - 5769

Just Follow Orders: Advice for the Gabbai; Advice for the Jew
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Earning The Celestial Academy Award
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

The Ten Commandments
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758



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