In this week’s Parsha Podcast, Rabbi Chaim Schwartz discusses why Noach was given the distinction of being a Tzadik “in his Generation” and what can this teach us about never feeling distanced from Hashem at any stage of our spiritual struggle. Good Shabbos!
(כי לימים עוד שבעה (ז,ד
In seven days I will bring rain upon the earth
Hashem tells Noach that he will bring rain that will destroy the entire world. Rashi explains that these seven days were significant because it was the seven days of mourning for Mesushelach who was a tzadik. He had just died and out of respect for his passing, Hashem “waited” seven days to bring the Great Flood to the earth.
The Gemara in Sanhedrin 37a tells a story of hooligans that lived in the neighborhood of Rav Zeira. Rav Zeira (one of the great sages of the Talmud) made it his business to be friendly with them. He hoped that through his relationship with them they would someday do Teshuva and repent their sins. When he died, they exclaimed “until now Rav Zeira would pray for us, now who will do so ?”
As a result they repented and became Baalei Teshuva.
HaRav Peretz Steinberg , shlita in his Sefer Pri Eitz Chaim points out that these men realized that Rav Zeira’s prayers and merits protected them. The Generation of the Flood should have realized the same when Mesushelach died. They should have understood that in his merit the world had not yet been destroyed. Unfortunately, they chose to ignore his passing and didn’t do Teshuva.
Similarly we find with Esav that on the day his grandfather Avraham Avinu died , did some of the most horrendous sins ever transgressed. Why did he do so? Esav said “if my great and saintly grandfather Avraham can not escape the punishment of death, there must not be any Judgment or Judge (G-d forbid).” ( Targum Yonasan Bereishis 25,29)
Each time a situation or set of events present themselves to us, we have the opportunity to see it in the correct light or G-d forbid the opposite. If we can see the message we are being sent, we can use it to reach great heights and new levels. As the Gemara tells us in Makos 10 b בדרך שאדם רוצה לילך, מוליכין אותו. The manner in which a person wants to go, he will be taken. We just have to want !
A Gutten Shabbos