Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Noach - 5780
NOACH AND AVRAHAM
Noach is described by the Torah as a righteous man, and as one who is perfect in his generation. The builder of the ark is undoubtedly a 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 with 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 from the text of the Torah, without rabbinic elucidation, can lead to a misstep on our path to 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 to act not just defensively by preventing the bad from changing them, but rather expects an 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.