The midrash (Bereishit Rabba 30:9) says on “in his generations” (Bereishit 6:9) that according to Rabbi Yehuda, if Noach would have been in the generation of Moshe or of Shmuel, he would not have been considered a tzaddik. According to Rabbi Nechemia, in those generations it would have been even clearer that he would have been a tzaddik. Let us explain the matter by looking more closely at the comparison to Moshe and Shmuel. The approach of these two great men was very different from that of Noach. Noach’s whole generation was corrupt, and he and his whole family remained on a high spiritual level, as we see that all of them received a prophetic message (see Bereishit 9:8). In contrast, Moshe and Shmuel sacrificed themselves for their nation, but Shmuel’s sons did not follow his path (Shmuel 8:3) and Moshe’s sons did not come close to his level. The midrash [editor- we did not find the exact source] attributes the failure of Shmuel’s sons to the fact that Shmuel was so occupied with the needs of the public, and it is likely that the same is true of Moshe’s sons. Thus, we are talking about a sacrifice of leaving one’s children largely “unattended” in order to save the generation. In the case of Noach, while
It is clear from the p’sukim of Parashat Bereishit that Adam, Chava, Kayin, and Hevel all believed in Hashem and in fact had the privilege to engage in discussion with Him, each in his or her own way. Even when they strayed from the proper path, they merited hearing words of rebuke from Hashem, which, along with the harsh words, showed great closeness.
Among the Rishonim in this week’s parsha, we find a dispute as to when the rainbow was created. The pesukim imply that the rainbow was created after the mabul as a covenant, and, indeed, the Ibn Ezra explains the verse this way, disputing an earlier interpretation of the posuk from Rav Saadyah Gaon. However, the Ramban contends that the rainbow was created during the six days of Creation. This provides us with an opportunity to discuss a great rishon, about whom most people know very little.
We have explained in the past that Shaul was chosen as king because his family “lit up dark roads.” We will now try to determine from whom they learned this trait. Noach is categorized in the parasha’s opening as a man who is tzaddik (righteous) tamim (perhaps most safely translated as complete). Some say that these two adjectives relate to different sides of his persona. Ibn Ezra and Seforno say he was a tzaddik in his actions and tamim in his thought. Avot D’Rabbi Natan says that tamim related to his body, as he was born circumcised, so he was complete without the need to be fixed. The Ramban says that tamim means that he was complete in his righteousness.