Friday, October 28, 2011

Chassidus on Parshas Noach

Parshas Noach
Divine Judgment and Mercy for Those Who have Mercy on EachOther
Bereishis 6:13 "For the land was filled with theft and robbery."
The story is told of how in Radomsk where the heilge Tiferes Shlomo lived there was a brutal tax collector. This Jew worked for the gentile authorities and his tactis were heartless and ruthless. He would literally steal and rob the Jewish population's money filling the coffers of his emploers and lining his own rich pockets. One day the attribute of Divine judgment took its toll against the man and his young son met an untimely end.
Heartbroken over the death of his beloved boy, a young child who had never sinned a day in his life the rich robber visited the Rebbe, the Tiferes Shlomo and poured out his anger and grief challenging G-d's harsh judgment against him. Shaking his fist to the heavens, he croaked between sobs, "Rebbe, how can this be? My poor son! Is this Divne justice?!"
The Tiferes Shlomo, knowing the error of this man's ways looked him in the eye and answered: "Our sages, Chazal teach that due to the sin of theft young children die."
Unflinching the tax collector further blasphemed against the Almighty questioning G-d's ways," But our sages also said that G-d is merciful and that in His mercy He does not attack people first, but rather their moeny and posessions. G-d has not touched my money at all! I am as rich as I ever was?! What kind of justice is this?!"
"It seems," answered the Tiferes Shlomo, "that none of your wealth is yours at all, it must all belong to others, therefore our Merciful G-d had no choice but to avenge Divine punishment straight on your child. Even regarding the generation of Noach's flood the verse says in Bereishis that the land was filled with theft and robbery, none of their wealth was theirs for it was all stolen, G-d therefore had no choice but to decide to say, "I am destroying them and the land."
The Tiferes Shlomo cites a Midrash in his commentary to the Torah that Avraham questioned Shem the son Of Noach as to why they were saved from the flood. Shem answered him that since he and his family had mercy on all the animals that they saved in the Ark this merit awakened Divine mercy over them and saved them.
We see, explains the Radomsker, that if the people in Noach's generation had mercy on each other it might have saved their lives, unfortuantely they had no so attribute, instead they robbed and stole from eachother, "for the land was filled with theft and robbery," and so the Divine attribute of harsh judgments acted against their collective sin and G-d destroyed them and the land in the flood.
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim Publishing
Chassidic Classics in the English Language
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