Well, this Shabbat we will read about Noah and the flood. This is my bar mitzvah sedrah some “I really don’t care to think about how many” many years later. I have always been fascinated by the sedrah. One thing which is commonly talked about is the meaning of Noah being a righteous man in his generation.
There are those who feel Noah was ONLY righteous in his generation and had he lived in another team, he would not have been looked upon in such a favorable light. I see things differently and agree with other commentators who feel the words “in his generation” emphasize that even during such a terrible time, with no positive influences around, Noah still was righteous.
What I like most about Noah is, he takes care of his family. He may not argue or bargain with G-d; he may not try to save the world, but he does make sure to have his family on the ark with him, so that they too remain safe.
The book of Genesis, of Breishet, is filled with many stories about sibling rivalry, about parents and children not treating each other fairly, trickery, bribery, all sorts of thing. I actually find it refreshing to read about a man who puts family first.
I think there is an important lesson here. Before we go out to save the world, we have to take care of ourselves and our families. It is also important to focus on the importance one generation has of helping another generation. If there is no Noah, then no one after him comes along since the entire world is destroyed. Noah, by saving himself and his family, literally did save the entire world.
To me, that is the lesson of Noah, that is the greatness of Noah, that is what should be taken out of this week’s Torah reading.