Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…