The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts on the parsha that R' Frand spoke about in his first shiur back after recovering from COVID, BH. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.
R' Frand began the parsha vort by quoting the Medrash on the pasuk in Bereishis 9:12 - וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים זֹ֤את אֽוֹת־הַבְּרִית֙ אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִ֣י נֹתֵ֗ן בֵּינִי֙ וּבֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וּבֵ֛ין כָּל־נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתְּכֶ֑ם לְדֹרֹ֖ת עוֹלָֽם . The word L'Doros is spelled without its usual Vuvs and the Medrash comments that there will be two generations which will not have rainbows because those generations will have tzadikkim because of whom Hashem will not become angry enough to want to destroy the world.
The two generations referred to are the generations of Tzidkiyahu and the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah. Tzidkiyahu is referred to a Tzaddik Yisod Olam - a Tzaddik who was the foundation of the world. Hashem wanted to make Tzidkiyahu the Mashiach and due to his righteousness, Hashem never was angered enough to want to destroy the world.
Similarly, the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah were particularly righteous in that they authored the prayers which we still say to this day.
However a different opinion quoted by the Medrash is that the second generation was R' Shimon Ben Yochai. The Medrash tells a story involving Eliyahu HaNavi learning with R' Yehoshua Ben Levi when they reached a statement of R' Shimon Ben Yochai. Eliyahu went to ask R' Shimon Ben Yochai about it and he asked Eliyahu - who is with you? Eliyahu responded, the Gadol HaDor - R' Yehoshua Ben Levi. R' R' Shimon Ben Yochai asked - did he see a rainbow in his lifetime? Yes, Eliyahu responded. Then he cannot come in to me, replied R' Shimon Ben Yochai.
R' Frand quoted a similar gemara in Kesubos when R' Yehoshua Ben Levi passed away and they announced in Shamayim - clear the way for the great Tzaddik. But then it was asked - was there a rainbow in his days? Yes, was the answer. Well then he is not a great Tzaddik.
R' Frand then quoted the famous dispute as to whether Noach was a true Tzaddik or just a Tzaddik in his time. R' Frand quoted R' Yosher Ber Soloveitchik who said that this Medrash supports the concept that Noach was not a true Tzaddik. Since there was a rainbow in Noach's times, it must mean that he was not a true Tzaddik and could not protect his generation.
R' Frand quoted the Zohar which relates Hashem's questioning of Noach as to why he did not daven for his generation and why he did not try to convince them to repent. Noach responded that it was because he did not think they were capable of repenting.
R' Frand quoted R' Meir Shapiro who said that if you don't think that a person is capable of doing Teshuva, you will never be able to influence him. This is why Noach was not successful.
R' Soloveitchik said that this is the symbolism of the rainbow. Hashem is teaching Noach that no matter how dark the day is, even to the point that the light meters come on, there can be light in the middle of the darkness - that is the rainbow. And Noach did not get it - people have some light inside of them.
This is why the flood is called Mei Noach in Isaiah - because Noach did not do enough for his generation.
R' Frand connected this to another statement of R' Soloveitchik showing that you cannot give up on people.
He referred to the Gemara in Berachos which discusses how R' Gamliel was removed from being the Nasi and R' Elazar Ben Azarya became the Nasi. That day they removed the guard who kept people out of the Beis Medrash under R' Gamliel's view that only people who were tocho k'baro could come in to learn. That day, they had to add benches to the yeshiva to accommodate all the extra students.
R' Gamliel was depressed about this -seeing all the students that he prevented from attending. So he had a dream that night wherein he saw white vessels full of ashes - as if to say that he was right as the students appeared white, but were full of ash. But the Gemara says otherwise - that was only to make him feel better.
The Chiddushei HaRim asks - why was R' Gamliel depressed? He had seen their "applications" and knew that they were not tocho k'baro, so why be upset? He answers that yes, R' Gamliel saw that they were deficient, but he also saw how they changed when they entered the Beis Medrash and the amazing power of Torah to change people. In order to appease R' Gamliel they showed him the white vessels filled with ashes, but he was wrong.
R' Soloveitchik explains - this is the symbolism of the vessels filled with ashes. Ashes appear to be burnt up and useless, but when you blow on ashes, the fire can be relit.
R' Frand said that this is the same lesson to Noach - although you think that these people are hopelessly wicked, there can be a return, much like there can be light on the darkest day. It is never without hope.
If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up