Rabbi Yehudah said that even though Noah was righteous, it was still not worthwhile for G‑d to protect the world because of him. Come and see! Moses did not ask for anything on the basis of his own merit. Rather, he depended on the merit of the Patriarchs. But Noah, unlike Moses, had no other person on whose merit he could depend.

Rabbi Yitzhak said that even though this was the case [that he was the righteous one of the generation], when G‑d said to him "and I will establish my covenant with you," he should have asked for mercy for them as well. And he should have sacrificed the offering he sacrificed, before the flood happened. Maybe that would have quieted the judgment of anger that hung over the world.

...he should have sacrificed the offering...before the flood happened.

Rabbi Yehuda asked: What benefit would that sacrifice have done? For the wicked of the world deliberately angered G‑d! Should he have offered a sacrifice on their behalf? Noah was certainly afraid for himself, that he should not be entangled with the [wicked] in death. He had seen their wicked deeds and how they had angered G‑d every day.

Rabbi Yitzhak said: As long as the wicked increase in the world, when a righteous person is found among them, he is punished first [as we find in the story of Ezekiel]: as it is written: "and from my sanctuary you should commence," (Ezekiel 19:6) and we have learned to read this not as 'Mimikdashi/from my sanctuary' but rather as 'Mimekudashai/from my holy ones'. How did G‑d save Noah who was righteous from among the wicked? Noah was saved so that he could bring further generations into the world, for he was truly righteous [and fit to beget proper children].

"...if you warn the wicked...you have delivered your soul..."

Not only that, but Noah warned them every day, but they did not pay attention. And the verse: "Yet if you warn the wicked... you have delivered your soul" (Ezekiel 3:19) is applied to him. From this we learn that whoever warns the wicked — even if the wicked do not heed him — that person saves himself, while the wicked are punished according to their sins. How far should he go in warning them? And he answered: Until he hits them. This issue has already been explained by our colleagues.

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
There are no words harder to successfully communicate than rebuke. After all, who appointed you as your "brother's keeper"?! Even Rabbi Tarfon said nearly 2000 years ago that few of his generation were at the level to critique. And what of us now?

The laws and paths of giving criticism are myriad and complex. And can we really gaze deep into our own heart/mind to discern a pure intention? There are no answers here, only questions.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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