In this week’s Parshah, Noach, the Torah tells us of the Mabul, the great flood which Hashem brought upon the world. The only people Hashem saved were Noach and his family.
At the very beginning of our Torah portion, the Torah explains why Hashem chose to save Noach. “These are the generations of Noach. Noach was a righteous man. He was perfect in his generations; Noach walked with G-d.” Rashi explains why the Torah specifies that Noach was perfect in his generation. “Some of our Sages interpret it (the words ‘in his generation’) favorably: How much more so if he had lived in a generation of righteous people, he would have been even more pious. Others interpret it derogatorily: In comparison with the time in which he lived, he was considered righteous, but if he had been in Avrohom’s generation, he would not have been considered of any importance.”
We need to understand the reason to interpret the Torah’s words as a negative description of Noach. We find that the Torah refrains from speaking in a derogatory manner of a non-kosher animal. How much more so is this true of Noach, who the Torah describes as being both righteous and perfect? We must say that there is a fundamental reason for this. It must be to teach an essential lesson in our service of Hashem.
The Alter Rebbe explains that the words “Come into the Ark (Taivah in Hebrew, which also means a word)” teach us how to escape a flood. This flood refers to the worries of “making a living,” surviving in this physical world. One may become obsessed, drown in these concerns. The Torah advises us to take refuge in the words of the Torah and prayer.
One may feel that this suggestion will only help one who is already righteous, like Noach. Therefore, Rashi teaches us that some of the Sages interpret the word righteous in a less than flattering manner. Each one of us can save ourselves from becoming entangled in this world by surrounding ourselves with the Torah’s holy words.
We should all take this lesson to heart. In this merit, we will surely merit the ultimate redemption through our righteous Moshiach.
Have a wonderful Shabbos!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Page 2
DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס
. Our Parshah, Bereishis 6:9.
. Rashi’s comments ibid.
. See Talmud Bava Basra 123, a.
. The word Torah is related to the word Hora’ah, meaning a lesson, or a teaching.
. See Torah Ohr on our Parshah.
. Our Parshah, Bereishis 7:1.