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Noah – not a metaphysical chap.

Posted by on October 28, 2011

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?

3 Responses to Noah – not a metaphysical chap.

  1. Trestin

    The unfortunate thing about Noah was that we do not have his actual record. It would not surprise me if he did question some things.
    Another thing to consider Abraham was not living in Sodom. He knew they were wicked, but he was not surrounded by their evil constantly, Noah on the other hand was.These were his people, he understood as well as anyone the depth of their evil.

    • Shifra

      We’ll never know; the Bible only tells us what it feels we ought to know, instead of what we’d like to know. Which can, indeed, be rather aggravating. All we can do is surmise. There’s always Midrash if we care for that.
      We don’t have any lament by Noah (like other Biblical laments for the fallen). We’re not told of any pleading on their behalf. But why should he plead for the wicked? After it’s all over, and his job is done, he plants the grape vines and finally gets drunk. Do any of us blame him for that? Is that his form of protest over the world being wiped out, or his way of escaping the blankness of it all for a bit. Seems a shame he had to wait so long – it must have been months until the vines had grown, and he’d picked the grapes and mashed them and waited for it to turn to wine.

  2. Shifra

    Lot is a fascinating person; he received so much by merit of being related to Avraham. Did any good qualities from Avraham rub off on him? Yes, but even those are somewhat warped (forget about the strangers, take my daughters instead. Charming…). Avraham was known to be related to Lot, he was obliged to save him. But yes, he went a step further and freed all those who were taken prisoner as well.
    The Sages considered Avraham to be a man of Hesed, charity.