אלה תולדות נח נח איש צדיק תמים היה בדורותיו. את האלקים התהלך נח.
“These are the children of Noach; Noach was a completely righteous person in his generation. Noach walked with Hashem.”
Let us think more deeply for a moment and try to imagine what it meant to live in Noach’s generation, which was a time when humanity sank to the depths of depravity. “And the earth became corrupted” – people had no boundaries and wantonly committed the worst transgressions, as it says: “And the earth was full of theft.” And there, in an entirely sinful world, stood one lone Noach who remained righteous. He stood against everyone and did not surrender to the surrounding enticements to sin. This could only have been due to Noach’s great love for Hashem, and therefore Hashem’s love in return is eternal, as we pray on Rosh Hashanah: “And also Noach you remembered with love.”
We cannot even imagine what it must have meant for Noach to stand alone against the entire world. We should be grateful for living in a generation that has many Torah-observant Jews; a time when we can strengthen each other and learn from each other.
“Noach walked with Hashem.” Rashi comments that Noach needed someone who should support him. It was indeed impossible for Noach to remain strong while completely on his own. He needed Hashem’s help, and he merited this assistance from Above, as it says: “Whoever comes to be purified is helped from Above,” because “If not for Hashem helping [the person] he would never be able to overcome [the yetzer hara].”
The Torah says about Avraham that he was unlike anyone else, for he “strengthened himself and continued in his righteousness.” He continuously overcame his yetzer hara and grew further in his avodas Hashem, without relying on any help. Even when Hashem came to help him, Avraham already ran ahead and reached new accomplishments in his continuous quest for growth.
The first letters of the words את האלקים התהלך בדורותיו – “in his generation; walked with Hashem,” spell the word ahava – love. Noach was able to remain righteous in his generation due to his deep love for Hashem. The last letters of the same four words spell the world tomech – support, indicating that Hashem helped him and supported him.
In our generation, we have both sides of the coin. The forces of impurity are very strong, but at the same time there are righteous people among us and we are able to strengthen ourselves together. We are not alone! We must thank Hashem for this – for our frum communities and our good friends who help us grow spiritually.
The gift of Shabbos is a source of support from Above, as we strive to serve Hashem. “All blessings from above and below depend on Shabbos.” Blessings from above mean spiritual blessings and blessings from below mean material and physical benefits. When we are worthy, Shabbos becomes a wellspring for the week. If we prepare for Shabbos during the weekdays by strengthening ourselves in Torah and fear of Heaven, by praying with kavanah and serving Hashem, then we merit feeling the true taste of Shabbos – a sense of Olam Habbah! Through this, we open up a source of blessing for the coming week. The angels who come with us on Shabbos say: “May it be His will that the coming Shabbos should also be so.” When they see that we prepared properly for Shabbos, this opens up a source of blessing that is felt during the coming week up to the next Shabbos.
This is the meaning of the verse: “And these are the toldos (children) of Noach; Noach was a tamim (completely righteous) person.” If we prepare with temimus – wholesomeness for Shabbos, then Shabbos brings forth toldos – “children”, meaning all types of blessings, both physically and spiritually. And then everyone will be helped with all kinds of yeshuos; those who need to be consoled should merit a complete nechama, and we should merit greeting Moshiach together, speedily in our days.