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"........Noah was a righteous and wholehearted man in his generation ...." (6:9)Rashi comments( based on Sanhadrin 108) that there are 2 opinions in regard to "in his generation" when the verse refers to Noah.
One opinion understands it in a positive fashion, meaning that Noah would have been great in any generation, and the other explains it to mean that Noah was only great in his generation, however, in Abraham's generation his greatness would have been diminished in comparison.
We clearly see that Abraham had beseeched G-d regarding Sodom, yet Noah really did not do much in regard to saving his own generation from destruction. We can, Bezrat Hashem, learn a tremendous lesson from this Rashi,as follows: There are 2 types of "Tzadikim" (righteous men) in the world. One that is "universal" in that he would be considered righteous in every generation in comparison to the other righteous men , and another type of "Tzadik" that could only be considered great in his own generation. There seems to be something lacking in his righteousness. What this "Tzadik" lacks is an intimate concern for the spiritual and physical welfare for his generation.
A person must strive to always be an advocate for his generation, searching out and discovering the tremendous wealth of greatness inherent in his fellowman. This very act is so vital that it has the ability to transform an "ordinary" tzadik into a " universal" tzadik.
We must also learn to be advocates for our generation before G-d. There is a very fascinating Medrash Tanhuma (Duet. 16:18), as follows: "Rabbi Yehuda ben R' Shalom said: Judges (leaders) should strive to find merit for their people before G-d. From whom do we learn this? From Gidon ben Yoash. In his days, Israel was in distress and G-d sought someone who could speak their merit and thereby arouse Devine compassion for them.......until Gidon was deemed worthy of having found merit for them...........................
Furthermore, in Kabalistic thought one who finds merit for Israel becomes a receptacle of a special Devine "light" from the heavenly Chamber of Merit. (Sefer Chareidim) We must all become advocates for Israel, especially at this time when there is tremendous turmoil brewing in the Middle East.
Every day we must find something good about the Jewish people, and proclaim it before G-d Almighty as advocates. This very act has the power to make us righteous, while at the same time arousing Devine merit for Israel. What a beautiful way to start the day.
Have a good Shabbos
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