Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Noach - 5779
THE “METHUSELAH DELAY”
In the beginning of this week’s Paresha, we find Noach occupied- for a very long time- in a construction project. The project was to build an ark for the purpose of saving and rebuilding the world. Eventually, Noach and his family were told to enter the ark. Yet, we find one last delay as Hashem tells Noach: "For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights." The rabbis share with us a tradition that the holdup was due to the seven days of mourning for Methuselah the righteous.
Noach, for a period of 120 years, tried to warn humanity that if they do not change their behaviour, the world will come to an end. Noach did not succeed in his mission over the extended period of time, so Hashem decided to give the dwellers of the planet one more week to change. However, this was no ordinary week: this was the week of Shiva.
Shlomo Hamelech wrote: “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” The week of mourning is intended to be a time of reflection and meditation for all beings. Hashem took the soul of Methuselah the righteous, to grant the human race the opportunity of Teshuva. Unfortunately, the great potential of the occasion was not utilized.