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Dvar for Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

Parshat Noach relates the cause, result, and aftermath of the flood. As the flood began, the passuk (verse) tells us that the springs of “tehom rabah” opened up (7:11). While the phrase means “the great deep,” tractate Sanhedrin 108a explains that the use of the term “rabah” is a direct reference to the misdeeds of that generation, previously described as the great evil of man, or “rabah ra’at ha’adam” (6:5). How are the “great” springs opening up an appropriate punishment for the “great” evils of those that perpetrated those evils?

The book Toldot Yitzchak explains that the misdeeds of the generation were “rabah,” which means “great,” but also means “excessive.” People followed their passions, lusts, and desires too far, and could not get enough. As an appropriate consequence, they were punished with excessive amounts of water, a resource when taken in proper quantities would be a blessing. While the generation of the flood perished, we have the opportunity to appreciate the lesson that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Being measured and balanced will give us just the right amount of happiness and fulfillment in all that we do.

Shlomo Ressler