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Thought for the Day: Building A World Together With HaShem

Why are the flood waters of the mabul called Mei Noach?  In other words, why is Noach blamed for the flood?  The generally given answer is because Noach didn't daven for his generation.  That is a difficult answer to hear.  The Torah HaK'dosha itself refers to Noach as an "ish tzadik tamim" -- a perfect tzadik.  (The machlokes about how to understand the intent of the pasuk is only about why we are told that, not whether or not Noach actually was an ish tzadik tamim.)  Moreover, Rashi on
v'yizkor Elokim es Noach (b'reishis 8:1) says that this shows that the  t'fila of a tzadik changes middas ha'din to midas ha'rachamim.  So... Noach davened or didn't daven?

Several years ago I asked R' Dovid Siegel, shlita, why HaShem didn't just wipe out Adam ha'rishon afer the sin and create a new man?  After all, I reasoned, eventually there will be one who doesn't sin (since it is up to free will) and HaShem could just keep that one.  R' Siegel gave me a blank look (which always means I am in trouble...) and then said very simply, "Because HaShem loved him."

Mankind isn't some sort of experiment in HaShem's creation lab.  We are the the apple of His eye, His one and only child, the sole object of His love.  Surely Noach davened, and surely Noach davened for his generation.  But he davened like a member of the team  He was going to the boss to get help in motivating the lazy workers.  That's good enough for a tzadik, but its not good enough to save the whole world.  The m'silas y'sharim says after the first three levels (zhirus, z'rizus, n'ki'us) that up till now he is talking about tzidkus, which is incumbent on all Jews.  After that he starts discussing chasidus -- making oneself into a ba'al chesed. Chesed always means to take responsibility for others.

That is what separates b'nei yisrael from b'nei noach.  B'nei noach can be completely righteous, but that only gets you so far; it gets you to "one of the good workers".  B'nei yisrael are actual partners with HaShem; a partnership built in this world and enjoyed for all eternity.

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