by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek
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Parashas Noah(66)The sedra tells us the story of the famous flood that came as G-d's response to the moral corruption that had filled His world.
And G-d said to Noah 'The end of all flesh is come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them, and behold I will destroy them with the earth."
The end of all flesh: Rashi: Whenever you find lewdness, indiscriminate punishment comes to the world killing good and bad alike.
Can you see what words in this verse are the basis for Rashi's comment.
WHAT'S BOTHERING RASHI?
An Answer: The verse says "The end of all flesh is come before Me..."
So Rashi concludes apparently that "all flesh" means both good and bad people..
But if you see Rashi's comment on the previous verse (the Lead Words "For all flesh have corrupted its way.") you should have a question:
An Answer: In the previous verse Rashi says "all flesh" means humans and animals, so why doesn't he have the same interpretation on these same words in our verse?
Hint: Look at the context of this verse.
An Answer: This verse is G-d's words to Noah. He is telling him of the upcoming disaster & He tells him how he can escape the destruction - by building an ark.
If the flood would only kill the evil people, Noah would have no need to build an arc, he would be saved by the mere fact that he is not evil, in fact, he is righteous. But we can conclude that being a good, even righteous, person would not protect him from the flood, because as Rashi says "Whenever you find lewdness, indiscriminate punishment comes to the world killing good and bad alike."
We can ask, why this should be the case, it seems unjust. But Rashi tells us this is the reality of things.
I would ask another question: What does Rashi mean when he says "Whenever you find lewdness, ....etc. Where else, besides Noah's generation, have we found indiscriminate punishment? I cannot think of a place in Tanach where we have such punishment for lewdness. What is Rashi referring to when he writes this?
A POSSIBLE SUGGESTION:
Will Durant, a historian wrote a voluminous series called "The Story of Civilization" in the 50's. In it he writes about the power of the sex drive. "The sexual passion is like a fiery river destroying everything in its path." So, apparently, history itself has enough examples of this indiscriminate punishment - and maybe Rashi was referring to this when he wrote what he did. Maybe (?), but he didn't need Durant's history to know this.
"What's Bothering Rashi?" is produced by the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. The five volume set of "What's Bothering Rashi?" is available at Judaica bookstores.
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
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