By Nosson Chayim Leff
This class is dedicated by Ephraim Sobol in loving memory of his father, Shlomo Mordechai ben Yaakov a”h.
The parsha begins (Bereishis, 6:9): ” … Noach ish tzadik …; es HaElokim hishalech Noach.” (“Noach was a righteous man …; Noach walked with God.”). Chazal — and Rashi — note the contrast with Avraham, of whom the Torah says (Bereishis, 17:1): “… walk before me … “. Chazal and (Rashi) comment that, to conduct himself as a righteous person, Noach needed heavenly support. That is, he needed HaShem to hold his hand. By contrast, Avraham was able to attain and handle the role of tzadik on his own.
The Sfas Emes begins this maamar by telling us that, certainly (“be’vdai”!), in contrasting Noach with Avraham, it never entered Chazal’s mind to diminish Noach’s stature. (Parenthetically, note the Sfas Emes’s koach hachiddush — his unhesitating, sheer…
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