Noach: One Of Lesser Faith

Ahh… finally.


One of my favourite Shabbosim of the year.  The first one after we switch the clocks back.  That means I come home earlier from shul, finish the meal earlier, take the family for a Shabbos night walk, and come back and enjoy our collection of “pitshuchim” (sunflower seeds, pistachios, almonds, etc…)


Unfortunately, I need to have a coffee in the middle of the meal to stay awake, but there’s something very relaxing about long Shabbos nights, which I appreciate greatly.


Rashi writes, in this week’s parsha, that Noach was considered to be one of those of ‘lesser faith’, because he believed, yet he did not believe that the flood was going to destroy the world.  Hence, he only went into the Ark at the last minute.


I heard Rav Brevda speak once on Noach quoting a similar Rashi comparing Noach to Avraham.  He said that many like to speak of Noach … not in a disrespectful way… but also not in the most respectful way.  He reminded his audience, that had we lived in his generation, we would be lucky to be considered cockroaches compared to him.


Just something to remember when discussing Noach.


This Rashi, on the surface, can be hard to understand.  After all, Noach spent 120 years building this boat, despite the taunts and abuse of those around him.  Obviously, he believed the when Hashem said He’s going to send a flood, that means He’s going to actually send it.


Rav Pincus explained that, yes, Noach believed Hashem that He was going to flood the world.  Yet, on the other hand, he believed that since Hashem was full of mercy, there would be a last minute reprieve.


Compare this to Mordecai.  He was in a situation where the Jewish people were threatened by complete annihilation.  Yet, Mordecai took this very seriously and pushed the nation to do tshuvah.  And in THAT merit, Hashem’s mercy was aroused.


I’ll add a personal point here.  Noah was one of those of the ‘lesser faith’, and we see that he did not do anything to stop the impending flood, such as davening or encouraging others to do tshuvah.  He believed that in the end things will be okay, because Hashem is full of mercy.  However, because there was a lack of spiritual ‘awakening’ on his part, Hashem did not ‘send’ His mercy.  Mordecai, on the other hand, completely believed that the destruction of the nation was right around the corner, and therefore did everything possible to ‘correct the wrongs’, and in turn, Hashem ‘sent’ His mercy into the world.


This is very applicable to ourselves in many aspects of our lives.  However, as noted, we’re not on the level of Noach.  While Noach truly believed that Hashem will have mercy on the world, we tend to cloak ourselves in ‘faith’, in order to cover our laziness, saying “Everything will be all right”.


When parents, for example, see that their children are suffering from some ailment, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, and shrug it off with “Everything will be fine” or they do a little bit of effort and say, “Okay, I did all that I can!”… Well, that’s certainly not being on the level of Noach, nor even of the cockroach in his generation.  It’s pure laziness.


I’ll be honest; I’m guilty of the same thing.  When I hear things like Iran is building the bomb, etc… I tend to shrug it off and think “Hashem is not going to allow Iran to nuke Israel….”  But, who said?


Perhaps by listening into these messages, and actually doing something about it, we will draw down mercy into this world to stop it.  And perhaps by taking the attitude of “Hashem in not going to allow it…”…


So, we have discussed three levels of faith today.  The first is the lowest.  Those that have replaced faith with laziness.  The second, is that of Noach, who believe “Yes, Hashem can do it, but He won’t”.  And the third is that of Mordecai who believe “Yes, Hashem can do it, and He WILL do it, unless WE do something about it”


So, let’s try to figure out where we are and see if we can upgrade ourselves a bit.


Have a great Shabbos!