Pearls of Rashi – Noach

In this week’s Parshah, Noach, the Torah tells us of the devastating flood which was brought to the world. From among the people of the world, only Noach and his family were saved.

In describing Noach, the Torah tells us that[1] “… Noach was a righteous man, he was perfect in his generation …” We need to understand why the Torah specifies that “he was perfect in his generation.” Rashi’s comments on this verse explain this. “Some of our Sages interpret the words ‘in his generation’ favorably. Had he lived in a generation of righteous people, he would have been even more righteous. Others interpret it derogatorily. In comparison with his generation he was righteous. However, had he lived in Avrohom’s generation, he would not have been considered of any importance[2].”

We need to explain why there are Sages who explain the Torah’s words in a derogatory manner. We find that “the Torah does not (even) make a negative statement about an impure animal[3].” How much more so would the Torah refrain from making a derogatory statement about a Tzaddik! We must say that the Torah says this in order to teach us a very important lesson.

The Alter Rebbe explains that Hashem’s command to Noach to[4] “enter the Ark[5]” actually allude to a much deeper concept. The waters of the flood actually represent the concerns which we have about making a living, and our worries about matters of this world. These indeed form an ongoing flood. The only way in which we can be saved from this is by entering the words of Torah and Tefillah.

One might think that this can save a Tzaddik of Noach’s stature. However, for a simple person such as myself it may be “too little too late.” Therefore, the Sages make a point of telling us that “some interpret it derogatorily … had he been in Avrohom’s generation he would have been considered nothing.” Entering the Ark, the words of Torah and prayer, can save all of us from the flood of this world, despite his stature.

Each of us must take this lesson to heart and enter the Ark, the words of Torah and prayer. As a result of this may we merit the complete and true redemption through Moshiach Now!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Beginning with Page 279

Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Parshas Noach, Bereishis 6:9.

[2]. Talmud Sanhedrin 108, b.

[3]. Talmud Bava Basra 123, a.

[4]. See Torah Ohr to this week’s Torah portion.

[5]. Please note that the Hebrew word for Ark can also be translated to mean words.

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