Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Noach - 5778
ARKS AND TENTS
Noach is described to us as a righteous man and even as one who is perfect in his generation. The builder of the ark is a very special person and merited to become the father of mankind after the flood.
Yet, whenever we turn to rabbinic sources for insight into Pareshat Noach, we cannot avoid statements that contrast him to Avraham. For some reason, our teachers have a need to communicate to us that despite his greatness, Noach did not reach the level of the father of the Jewish nation.
It appears that reading about Noach and his commitment, without rabbinic elucidation, can lead to a misstep on the path of righteousness.
To remain ethical, despite being surrounded by corruption and immorality, is clearly a great virtue. However, the Almighty demands more than that from us. He wants the righteous not just to act defensively by preventing the bad from changing them, but rather expects a deep desire and attempt to change the world and guide sinners to a life of value.
While Noach built a structure to separate himself from the world, Avraham opened his tent from all sides to welcome the world. A person who is open to the world, is worthy of becoming the father of a nation that is to serve as a light and guide to humanity.