Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 30, 2008 / 2 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Our Immutable Noble Essence

By Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz


Printer Friendly Version

Email this article


Noah and us


“Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations ... ”

                        —   Genesis 6:9


This week's Torah reading states that Noah was a perfect tzaddik, a truly righteous man. Why, then, does the previous verse say he found favor — chein — in the Divine's eyes, implying that he needed special compassion and mercy from Above to survive the flood?


The commentator Sforno (ibid. 6:8) answers that the Divine's "favor" was required, not to save Noah himself, but rather to save Noah's sons and daughters-in-law, because Noah's own righteousness was insufficient to save them. Why? Where was Noah lacking? The Sforno explains that although Noah rebuked his generation for their misdeeds he did not teach them to "know" the Divine, i.e., to understand G-d's kindness, mercy, and goodness and to follow His ways.


The Sforno continues: A truly righteous man such as Noah, who perfects only himself, can merit saving only himself. Others like Abraham, Moses, or Samuel, who reach out to others to perfect them as well, can save others through their own merit. Since there is hope that they will bring their generation back to the Divine in teshuvah, repentance, the entire generation deserves to be saved.


Imagine yourself in noah's position. You live in an immoral society that has become so debased and corrupt that even the animals, even the earth itself, have broken all barriers of decency (Bereishis Rabbah 28:8). Thievery is the norm — employers rob workers, workers cheat their employers (Sforno 6:13). You proceed to build an ark, on Divine command, for 120 years. As people ask why, you tell them that their terrible sins have brought about their imminent destruction. They ignore you; they jeer and ridicule you (Bereishis Rabbah 30:7). Would you think that these immoral, vulgar, and shameless people could have an appreciation for the lofty concepts of the Divine's kindness and compassion? Could these wicked people, who ignored Noah's repeated, direct rebuke and refused to repent when faced with doom — could they be inspired by the greatness and beauty of the Divine's attributes and eventually mend their ways?


A human being, no matter how low he has sunk into the filth of immorality and corruption, still retains his noble essence. Buried under the layers of sin and rationalization is a receptivity, an appreciation for the splendor and glory of the Divine's infinite kindness.


Man can be motivated by this appreciation — even when all rebuke has failed — to raise himself from the abyss of sin and return to the Divine. Noah failed to teach these lessons, did not reach for the greatness within his fellow man, and therefore lacked the merit to save his children. Only through the Lord's mercy were they saved.


In our generation, so many of our brethren have been led astray by the indecent and corrupt influences of our society. We look at these tragic victims in despair and resign ourselves to their loss. "How can we reach them?" we question. "Surely, they have no appreciation for the ethical and moral beauty of the Torah [Bible]." Nothing could be further from the truth. They can and do respond to the grandeur of Biblical morality. We need only teach it to them to reach the magnificence that lies within their souls.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.


INSPIRED BY THIS ARTICLE?
BUY THE BOOK ...
at a discount by clicking HERE .

Comment by clicking here.

One of America's senior Torah sages, Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz has been the dean of the Rabbinical Seminary of America, in Queens, New York for more than 50 years. The institution has branches and affiliates all across North America and Israel.

This article was prepared by two of the sage's disciples, Rabbi Aryeh Striks and Rabbi Shimon Zehnwirth, and excerpted from the just released book, "Pinnacle of Creation: Torah insights into human nature".


Previously:

The 'living dead' are all around us
We have the power to alter another's destiny — use it well
The Crowning Glory of Creation
The Divine's eternal, unconditional love
Perverting sincerity
Do 'clothes make the man'?
Divine vindictiveness?

© 2007, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.