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Friday, November 4

The Weekly Shtikle - Noach

The well-known story of Noach and the great deluge surely yields its fair share of lessons and themes. Recently, a new thought came to mind, another idea that may be gleaned from the general "big picture" of what transpires in this week's parsha. The main driving force behind this thought is a snippet from Rashi at the end of Bereishis (6:6). He tells of an exchange between a heretic and R' Yehoshua ben Karchah whereby the heretic questioned HaShem's omnipotence based on the pasuk recounting an expression of despair, as it were, at the regret of having created Man. R' Yehoshua successfully rebuts the challenge and explains that even though it was known from the very beginning that the creation of Man would lead to this tragic point in history, HaShem still created Man, nevertheless, for the purpose of the righteous ones who would ultimately emerge.

This phase of mankind was doomed from the start. However, there are two interesting points that stand out regarding its demise. It was still necessary for these 1656 years of history to take place. Even as the world was completely destroyed, it was also necessary for a remnant to survive and build the new world rather than a complete annihilation followed by Creation started anew. Perhaps a similar observation can be made regarding the first luchos given to Moshe which ultimately had to be smashed and a new set fashioned. Still, the broken pieces of the original stones were carried inside the aron.

A number of years ago, I attended a program which highlighted the success of Israeli companies that chose to create a presence in Maryland. One of the speakers, Lior Schillat, addressed the idea of Israel being known as "Startup Nation," and why so many successful startup businesses have emerged from Israel. Although he did not appear to be particularly religious, his first approach seemed to be pure Divine Providence. But he followed that up with another intriguing idea. He suggested that Israelis do not have a fear of failure. They are only able to ultimately reach success because they are not afraid to try new ventures which might appear to have a significant likelihood of falling flat. But those failures ultimately lead to great success. Indeed, one is hard-pressed to find a largely successful enterprise which is simply the result of a "first shot."

Perhaps this is a lesson to be extracted from the tragedy of the mabul. The failure and breakdown of society was a necessary phase of history to teach us the value of being able to embark on a venture and be willing to fail. And it was crucial for a surviving entity to spark the rebirth and rebuilding in order to impress upon us that past failures are only indeed of any value if we are able to take with us the lessons learned and build upon them.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Al Pi Cheshbon: The Weight of the Teiva and The Constant Rate of Recession 
AstroTorah: Sailing the Friendly Skies by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: The World's First Boat?
Dikdukian: Noach's Three Sons

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