dvar for parashas Noach 5782
After Adam and Chava (Eve) partook of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, an admixture of good and evil occurred; thus, evil had entered the world through the original sin, compromising the integrity of Gan Eden. Evil became mixed in with good; since, prior to the first aveirah (sin), only good existed in Gan Eden. Yet, increasingly, over time the yetzer hara (evil inclination) seemed to gain the upper hand amongst almost all of mankind. “And the L-RD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5, JPS 1917 Tanach).
A perplexing dilemma arises, in relationship to G-d’s omniscience; knowing past, present, and future, G-d knew that man would fall as a result of temptation, when seduced by the serpent. Yet, the nature of the free will bestowed upon mankind, is such that at the time, G-d excluded his foreknowledge of man’s fall, from deterring Him with following through on the divine plan. Moreover, as a safeguard, teshuvah (repentance) was also part of the divine plan from the beginning in fine print, so that would give mankind the ability to seek reconciliation with G-d.
Once fallen, mankind would need to be guided toward an everlasting covenant, despite the original sin, so that G-d’s ultimate intentions for man would remain intact. When mankind had gone too far off from the blueprint, G-d sought to find a reason to not entirely destroy His creation. “The L-RD looked forth from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any man of understanding, that did seek after G-d” (Psalm 14:2, JPS 1917 Tanach). “Noah found grace in the eyes of the L-RD” (Genesis 6:8, JPS). For, “Noah was in his generations a man righteous and wholehearted; Noah walked with G-d” (Genesis 6:9, JPS). The Targum paraphrases, “in the fear of the L-RD walked Noah” (Targum Jonathan on Genesis 6:9, sefaria.org). “I will establish My covenant with thee; and thou shalt come into the ark” (Genesis 6:18, JPS).