This week we enter into the story of Noah. The story of Noah comes after the story of creation. We were told in last weeks portion that God created the world and declared טוֹב מְאֹד, it was very good. Then by the end of the portion, it seems as if,God has what a friend of mine called a bit of buyers remorse, and God says that people are evil and now God wants to wipe not only people but all living things off the planet. But…
The Torah says:
וְנֹ֕חַ מָ֥צָא חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֵ֥י יְהוָֽה but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord
Then the portion ends with a bit of a cliff hanger.
This week we are told:
נֹ֗חַ אִ֥ישׁ צַדִּ֛יק תָּמִ֥ים הָיָ֖ה בְּדֹֽרֹתָ֑יו אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים “Noah was in his generations a righteous and wholehearted dude and Noah walked with God.”
What does it mean to be a righteous dude in Noah’s time? Noah was around during a time when the world was crap and people were just not nice and treated each other like …well… you insert the rest.
Noah was righteous for his generation but how would he stand up next to people from other generations?
I would argue that Noah is righteous but not a leader. Noah doesn’t even speak in this weeks Torah portion. In an age, when all is corrupt, when the world is filled with violence, when even
וַיִּנָּחֶם יְהוָה, כִּי-עָשָׂה אֶת-הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ; וַיִּתְעַצֵּב, אֶל-לִבּוֹ God has “regretted that He made man on earth, and it pained Him at his heart”
Noah in God’s eyes justifies God’s faith in humanity, the faith that led God to create people. Noah is, after all, the man through whom God makes a covenant with all humanity, and as a queer person I can thank him for the rainbow. Noah is to humanity what Abraham is to the Jewish people. Noah was a good man in a bad time. Some would argue there are two types of righteous people. Some who do what they are supposed to do and nothing else and those who look around and try to do more. Noah was the type of guy who did what God told him to do, he built an ark and did not tell anyone or try and save anyone.