Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Noach

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha. I have attempted to reproduce the vort 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.

Rabbi Frand started his parsha vort by quoting the Midrash Shochar Tov on Tehillim. The Midrash states that three tzadikkim were called Yisodei Olam - the foundations of the world. The tzadikkim mentioned in the midrash were Adam, Noach and Avraham. However, only one of the tzadikkim was successful in becoming the building block for the world.

The first individual who was called a foundation for the world was Adam HaRishon who as the first man had the potential to be the building block for the world. However, before the completion of his first day of existence, Adam had already sinned and he could not be the sole foundation.

Hashem then waited ten generations before attempting to introduce another tzaddik who could be the yisod olam. This tzaddik started our promising, as Noach was described as tzaddik and tamim b'dorosav when he is first introduced in the parsha. However, after Noach finished his mission of saving the world, Noach sinned as well by getting drunk on the wine from his post flood vineyard.

Hashem then waited another ten generations before introducing Avraham Avinu as the third yisod olam. Unlike the prior two individuals, Avraham was successful and as result his children and grandchildren and their descendants have been perpetually involved in tikun olam.

R' Frand then asked - if Noach was tamim and a tzaddik, how is it that he sinned by getting drunk on the post flood wine?

R' Frand answered by quoting the sefer Chikrei Lev who offered the following thought about Noach and his life. When Noach was in the ark, his life was exceedingly difficult as he had to tend to all the animals - some of which ate only during the day, while others ate only at night. When the inhabitants of the ark were finally allowed to leave, Noach was understandably spent. He thought to himself, I have completed my mission and served my purpose, now I can relax. As a result, Noach decided to become a farmer and planted a vineyard so that he could kick back with his wine.

The problem with Noach's mentality was the belief that he could retire from his mission in life. While a person is not required to be employed until the day that he leaves this world, it does not mean that he should retire from all meaningful activity.

R' Frand then told a story about a friend of his who was concerned because his doctor was retiring. The doctor indicated that he would stop practicing on August 31st. The following day, the patient was surprised to see the doctor in the patient's kollel with an Art Scroll gemara in hand. However, the doctor knew that while he would no longer be practicing medicine he would not stop being active.

R' Frand then distinguished Avraham from Noach. He cited the Ramban who asks why Avraham's tenth test was to bury Sarah? Why did this test follow the akeidah which was clearly more difficult for him to accomplish? The Ramban answers that the test was not more difficult, but it tested Avraham in a completely different way. After the akeidah, Avraham could have said, I finished the ultimate test, now I can retire. Indeed, he could have even questioned Hashem about why he was given another test. Avraham did not believe that he was done or question why he was being tested again. Instead, Avraham fulfilled his final task and in so doing showed that there is no such thing as retirement from our role as Jews.

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