Noach – Doing What’s Right

Parshat Noach 5773

I find Noach / Noah to be a very interesting and puzzling person.

Before the Flood

Here’s how the Torah describes him (Judaic Press translation):

Genesis 6:9

These are the generations of Noah, Noah was a righteous man he was perfect in his generations; Noah walked with God.

You can’t get much better than that. Even if our Sages argue whether Noach would have been considered a great man in a different generation, this is still very high praise. Let’s face it, most of us would be very happy to know that God thinks this highly of us.

Later on we are told that Noah does what he is told to do:

Genesis 6:22

And Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.

Bereshit 7:5

And Noah did, according to all that the Lord had commanded him.

At this point I understand Noach. He is a man who learns what God wants from him and he does it.

All of this occurred before the flood.

Click here to grab your copy of my free ebook How to Learn Chumash with Rashi.

After the Flood

But, then the rain falls and the flood comes and destroys much of God’s creation. All of a sudden, Noach is doing things that he was not told to do.

Look here:

Genesis Chapter 8

6 And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made.
7 And he sent forth the raven, and it went out, back and forth until the waters dried up off the earth.
8 And he sent forth the dove from with him, to see whether the waters had abated from upon the surface of the earth.

Bereshit 8:13

And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first [month], on the first of the month, that the waters dried up from upon the earth, and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and he saw, and behold, the surface of the ground had dried up.

God never told Noah to send out birds as scouts to see whether the flood waters were gone. God never told him to remove anything and look outside the ark.

Granted, Noach doesn’t leave the ark until God tells him to. In this he is still obedient and waiting for instruction.

What do you think? What happened to Noach that changed him so that he acted without waiting for instruction?

I’d like to hear your suggestions in the comments.


As I announced yesterday, I have room in my schedule to accept two or three tutoring clients.

If you agree that learning Torah is important in your life, then I’m going to ask you to check out my tutoring offer. Maybe this will be good for you or for someone you know. Does that seem fair enough?

A Note on the Translations
The translation of Bible verses is based on the Judaica Press Tanach.
The translation of Gemara is based on the Soncino Talmud.
Click here to grab your copy of my free ebook How to Learn Chumash with Rashi.