Printed from kabbalaonline.org
In Noah's generation everyone was considered an idolator.

Appreciating the Younger Generation

Appreciating the Younger Generation

In Noah's generation everyone was considered an idolator.

 Email
Appreciating the Younger Generation
In Noah's generation everyone was considered an idolator.

"G‑d said to Noah: 'Enter the ark - you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.'" (Gen. 7:1)

Why did G‑d have to repeat that He had seen that Noah was a righteous man in his generation (since it is already stated in 6:9)? G‑d may have feared that Noah would misinterpret the command to enter the ark together with all his immediate family. He might have thought:
a) that every family member would be saved due to his or her individual merit; in that case the Torah should not have addressed the command to build the ark to Noah in the singular;
b) he might have thought that his wife, children, and their respective wives were being saved because they had not yet reached the age of accountability.
If Noah had thought this he might have been tempted to invite all those of his friends who were young enough to share the ark with him in order to survive. Even if he had not done so on his own initiative, he might have wondered why all these youngsters were doomed to perish.

...any youngster who did not have a righteous father was caught in the sins of his father...

G‑d told Noah once more that He had found only him as a righteous person at that time in order to lay to rest any of the other ideas Noah might have had on the subject. He now understood that any youngster who did not have a righteous father was caught in the sins of his father, who was punished to die without issue.

The statement of our Sages that Jewish minors have a share in the world to come, whereas gentile minors do not (Kohelet Raba 4:1 and Avot deRabbi Natan 36:1) may be based on our verse. In Noah's generation everyone was considered an idolator and it was reasonable to assume that the children would take after their fathers. Noah, on the other hand, took a more optimistic view of the possible development of the minors. G‑d therefore had to tell him that he could not save any youngsters barring his own.

[Selected with permission from the five-volume English edition of "Ohr HaChaim: the Torah Commentary of Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar" by Eliyahu Munk.]

Rabbi Chaim (ben Moshe) ibn Attar (Sale, Western Morocco, 1696–Jerusalem, 1743) is best known as the author of one of the most important and popular commentaries on the Torah: the Ohr HaChaim, printed in Venice in 1741, while the author was on his way to the Holy Land. He established a major yeshivah in Israel, after moving there from Morocco. Chassidic tradition is that the main reason the Baal Shem Tov twice tried so hard (and failed) to get to the Holy Land was that he said if he could join the Ohr HaChaim there, together they could bring Moshiach. Rabbi Chaim acquired a reputation as a miracle worker, hence his title “the holy,” although some apply this title only to his Torah commentary. He is buried outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Eliyahu Munk, the translator, was born in Frankfurt, and emigrated to England as a young man, later moving to Toronto. After retiring from education and moving to Israel in 1978, he began an extraordinary second career as a translator, publishing English versions of the Torah commentaries of Rabbeinu Bechayei, Akeidat Yitzchak, Shelah, Alshich and Ohr Hachaim.
 Email
Start a Discussion
1000 characters remaining
Related Topics

The larger, bold text is the direct translation of the classic text source.

The smaller, plain text is the explanation of the translator/editor.
Text with broken underline will provide a popup explanation when rolled over with a mouse.