Noach was righteous …
But still he wasn’t chosen …
To be the first Jew —
Noach is called “Ish Tzadik” a righteous man, in his generation (Genesis 6:9). But it will be ten generations before God calls on Abraham to be the first monotheist (Genesis 12:1-3). At first glance it seems strange – we are told Noach is righteous but aren’t told anything about Abraham before God’s call.
So the Rabbis look to the text for clues.
A previous Noah haiku focused on the importance of the “in his generation” characterization of Noach’s righteousness.
But there’s another clue in the different reactions of these Biblical All-Stars to the potential of harm to others.
When God told Noach about plans for the flood and told him to build the ark, “Noach did so; just as God commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:22). But when Abraham is told about God’s plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, he pleads on behalf of the innocent (Genesis 18:20-32).
This concern for others is one aspect of Abraham’s character that distinguishes him from Noach and helps to explain God’s choice of Abraham despite the righteousness attributed to Noach.
Image: Noah’s Ark, oil on canvas painting by Edward Hicks, 1846 Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Torah In Haiku
by Ed Nickow • www.thetorahinhaiku.com