This week’s Torah reading is Parashat Noach. The passage is Genesis 6:9-11:32. Here is a brief commentary from Baruch:
What has been the greatest disaster of humanity since the fall in the Garden? The answer is the flood that destroyed every man, woman, and child except for the eight individuals that comprised Noah’s family. It is not hard to imagine people crying out to G-d asking why a loving G-d would do such a thing. Frequently when tragedies happen people blame HaShem. They will ask where G-d was when a loved one was killed or some other catastrophe took place. The answer is that G-d is not the cause of every disaster. In fact, He is never the cause of any of the numerous things for which you and I tend to blame Him. Much of the things that people cry out to G-d and say, “Why O L-rd” are actually the sinful behavior of human individuals.
In this week’s Torah portion, there is a most illuminating sentence concerning the devastating flood. G-d states,
“…I will not continue to curse the ground more because of man, for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” Genesis 8:21
This verse makes it most clear that G-d is not the underlying cause of such tragedies; rather it is the sinfulness of man. The important phrase in this verse is “because of man, for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth“. Many people struggle to see how a compassionate and forgiving G-d could respond to man’s sinfulness in such a manner. A question like this only underscores that the one who asks does not understand the Holiness of G-d. I also find it hard to grasp the Holiness of G-d, but from a different vantage point. First, I am not surprised by the wickedness of man. I know the words of Anne Frank, who stated that, despite all the horrible things she went through, she still believed that people were generally good. I am forced to conclude that man, in and of himself, is not good. Only G-d is good! It is only when sinful man is touched by the grace of G-d and filled with the Holy Spirit by means of faith in the Gospel that man can do good. Second, when I look at all the sin in the world and even my personal acts of sin, I am amazed at the patience and long suffering of G-d.
Among the truths that one should take away from this week’s parashah is that it is incorrect to perceive what takes place in the world and attempt to make conclusions about the nature of G-d. It will only be in the Millennial Kingdom that one can observe the happenings taking place and learn from them about the nature of G-d. Until that time, one must form his or her opinions concerning the character and attributes of G-d from the revelation of Scripture.