This past weeks Parsha (Noach) has me a bit perturbed. The flood. We all know the story: God calls Noach a Tzaddik (a righteous man) and asks him to build an ark because He is sick of mankind and wants a fresh start.
So, he finishes the boat and brings aboard 7 of each clean animal (so they have something to eat I assume) and 2 of each unclean animal…Proof there was a Torah before the flood…
So where did this Torah come from? It looks as though Adam may have lived long enough to show all of the generations, through Methusalah, the Torah, himself.
None of this really bothers me until I realized for the first time that Noach’s dad died, too.
It isn’t so unreasonable to me to see God judge the wickedness by turning His gaze away, and allowing a force of nature to balance the scales. But Noach’s dad too? He dies 7 days before the flood. Long enough for Noach to sit shiva, and then mourn while aboard the Ark for a year. Even though our sages say that Methusalah was wise, God did not call him a “tzaddik,” yet gave that title to Noach. Why is he not righteous? He was responsible for passing along the Torah to the future generation!
And comparatively, there are so many other men that could be called a “Tzaddik ish”, such as Moses and Abraham…The text has lost me on a anomaly, I would guess.
And yet we know NOTHING is in the Torah on accident.
Perhaps it is because Methusalah was the oldest known man in human history at that point, at a ripe old age of 969 (a testimony to his wisdom and Humility before Hashem).
Shouldn’t I, like Noah, just build away without trying to warn this generation about what lies ahead?
Or should I be more like Abraham reaching out and bringing lost souls to the Torah, immersing them in the knowledge of Moshiach?
Or maybe the answer lies in our rest. Do I need to wait to be inspired, or can I do the right thing and trust that God will do the rest? Or perhaps the inspiration comes after we start?
Maybe the difference is not between Noach and Avraham, but between the hearts of the people in their respective generations.
All I know, is that I am responsible. I am responsible for carrying the message. I am not responsible for how it is received. But as long as I am able, I will continue to try and present it in a way that is easily understood.
I liken it to pitching baseball (or in my case softball). I cannot control the ball once it leaves my hand. But there are so many little decisions my body makes while winding up for the pitch. These I can control. It is on these things I shall ponder. It is on these things I shall meditate. Practice, daily, constantly striving for perfection.
….and once it leaves my hand. Let. It. Go.
….I feel the rush of release…and I am free to pitch again.