Noah was a man Who Got The Job Done. Not only that, but he Didn’t Ask Questions. If this were in Ankh Morpork, Sam Vimes would have approved. The question is, do we approve? And did our commentators approve? It seems that they didn’t really. They would have preferred it if he had spoken up for his wicked neighbors and argued with G-d a bit. Avraham did, they all say, and seem to think that clenches the argument. But does it? And was Avraham in the right when he supposedly wanted to save the Very Wicked Cities of S’dom and Amorrah?
I always thought it was possible, perhaps probable, that Avraham wasn’t seeking to save those places, but merely trying to understand the way G-d thought and worked. Wait, so let me understand this, if there are a lot of good guys there, you’re still going to kill everyone? Oh. But what if there aren’t a LOT of good guys, but only a little bit of good guys – do you still kill everyone (including the good guys)? Once Avraham understood the way God worked he never ‘argued’ again – not even when G-d had him take his son to sacrifice. Noah, obviously, just wasn’t a metaphysical sort of guy.
But he did know about Symbols. He understood the rainbow all right. And he knew to sacrifice to G-d after they all stepped on dry land again. And where would we be if he hadn’t given us the dove? And the olive branch?