November 22, 2017 ~ Shabbat VAYESSE. Maqam AJAM.

Shabbat Noah

In His Generation

נח איש צדיק תמים היה בדרתיו - Is Noah considered “righteous” by today’s standards? Resh Laqish and Rabbi Yohanan debate this very question in the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 108a). Whereas Resh Laqish maintains Noah as righteous for all generations, Rabbi Yohanan points out that the word in Genesis 6:9, בדרתיו, “in his generation,” limits his righteousness to “his generation” alone. Various Jewish commentators, contrasting him with his descendent, Abraham, have criticized Noah for not doing more to save those around him. Instead, Noah remains completely silent throughout the narrative and “walks with God.” The general consensus to this question is that Noah’s silence and his lack of interest to positively influence those around him is not viewed favorably. When we see a problem in society, our role is to be more like Abraham and attempt to improve the situation, and not simply stand by and ignore it. Beth Torah Bulletin, October 21, 2017. 

Second Chance

וישחת הארץ לפני האלהים ותמלא הארץ חמס - Why does it say that the land was destroyed even prior to the flood? In Genesis 6, we read that society was broken, because its members were engaging in "Hamas," translated as acts of violence, lawlessness or deception. The crimes that saddened God most were the violations of social laws. In short, God loses all hope, because people did not have basic respect for one another. By bringing the flood, He was merely trying to restart a world already deemed irreversibly damaged. It wasn't until Noah, an upright and righteous person, that God decided to reconsider His original plan. The lesson that we learn from Noah's survival is that humanity only continues to exist today in order to fix the mistakes of our predecessors. Instead of living lives of Hamas, we, the descendants of Noah, should only pursue lives of Hesed; kindness (Beth Torah, 11/5/16).  


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