Parshat Noach

Parshat Noach

In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Noach, the first Pasuk states, “These are the offspring of Noah – Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations; Noah walked with G-d.” What does it mean Noah walked with G-d? How can anybody possibly walk with G-d? G-d doesn’t have a physical body? There is a Mitzvah in the Torah of “Vehalachta B’drachav,” to walk in the path (of G-d). A way to understand walking in the path of Hashem is imitating Hashem. The reason why we want to imitate Hashem is because we want to get closer to Him. This can be seen in our daily lives by the people with whom we associate. We usually imitate these people, whether they are our parents or friends. The people we are most similar to are the ones that we imitate and the people with whom we therefore form relationships. By keeping Hashem’s Mitzvot we are becoming more similar to Him and thereby making us closer to Him.

The 8th Mitzvah in the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvot is “Vdavak bo”. The Rambam counts clinging to Hashem as a Mitzvah. This can be accomplished by doing Hashem’s actions. An example of imitating Hashem can be seen through the concept of Rebuke. The Seforno says that Noach attempted to imitate Hashem by helping his generation through Rebuke. Noach’s mission was to try and change the people of his generation. On a simple level, criticizing people can be seen as negative and not something pleasant to do or to receive. But rebuke can be used for the good or for the bad. In truth, rebuking shows someone that you care about him or her and only want what’s in his or her best interest (of course it has to be done in moderation and respectfully). Criticism is best received by someone with whom you have a close relationship; in this situation the other person can see with enough clarity that you truly want to help him or her.

We can learn a lot from Noach’s actions of “walking in the ways of Hashem”. We need to realize that when someone is rebuking us, it is in our best interest to listen and try to do better. Through realizing our flaws we can fix them and thereby imitate G-d on a higher level. As discussed the more we imitate G-d, the closer we connect to Him.

We all have aspects in our lives upon which we can improve, and through time, effort and imitating the ways of Hashem we can strive to be our best.

Student Studying in MMY