The Torah tells us that Noah was “a righteous man in his generation.” This is what we might call a “qualified endorsement.” Noah is definitely not one of the great leaders of the Jewish people whom we study and revere. Why not?
The answer seems clear. When God tells Abraham that he plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham argues with God to try and save the cities. When God is angry with the Israelites and tells Moses that he wants to destroy them, Moses changes God’s mind. Yet when God tells Noah to build the ark because God is going to destroy the earth in a flood, Noah just builds the ark.
What an amazing tradition we have that teaches us to revere those who fight to save the world, even if it means challenging God!
Eric Fingerhut is the President and CEO of Hillel International.