On Noach - For Freshmen
I've been asked to speak at the Freshman minyan every Thursday. I'm rethinking a thought that I want them to get. it's sophisticated. i need to be brief and clear. Not sure how to pull it off. Maybe something like this:
Once there was a man named Noach. his story has been told wrongly and he has been misunderstood. Let's look at him in a new way. When we're introduced to him we're told that he walked with G-d. That's a good thing, to be tight with G-d. it saves lives. it saved Noach's life. His generation was so bad that he (according to the Rosh) was correct in seperating from all the people of his time. Even though a lot of classical commentaries and a lot of regular people like to criticize him for not buddying up with people the fact is that they were like poison. They were so bad and so dangerous that he needed to peel apart from all the people around him and stick only with G-d.
But something we need to remember in life is that situations change. What works in one situation may not work in another. It's good to ask creative questions in class, but on the day you're reviewing for a test it may be wise to save the what if questions on the side and focus on the key points alone. Things change around Noach. After the flood the world filled up with new people, good people. But he didn't change, he still separated from them. And he suffered for his mistake. he lived for a long time, but it was like he wasn't alive. he did what was right once but wrong now. And he became irelevent. it was like he wasn't even alive. We all know the question - what would Noach have been like if he lived in Avraham's generation, generation? The truth is he did live into in the same time as Avraham but because he used his old approach of separating, when the new approach, the Avraham approach of being with others, was the needed approach now, it was like he wasn't even living.
May we all be blessed in our general lives and in our lives in school together this year to adapt to the new situation before us, to what works now even if it's different than what worked in the past. There are a lot of people here to help with doing what's needed as you enter a new situation. Let's all help each other to do what works so we can truly be a live right now.