People scoffed at Noah, just like they scoff at me when I write about the importance of modesty and the harm caused by promiscuity. They ridiculed him. They laughed. No one paid any attention to his warnings.
For 120 years, he worked on building the ark, so that people would pass by and ask what he was doing, giving them a chance to repent.
“Hey, Noah, what the heck are you building?”
“Why are you doing that?”
“Because Hashem is planning to destroy mankind because of its rampant immorality.”
“Ha ha ha,” they laughed. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I’m not kidding at all,” Noah answered. “Everyone is looking at indecent pics on the Internet.”
“What a joker!” they scoffed. “Stupidest thing we’ve ever heard!”
In the end, no one took Noah’s warning seriously. No one changed his ways. The rest of the story is known to everyone – all of existence was wiped out in the flood, except Noah’s family and the animals he brought into the ark.
I bet you thought the sins of the generation were robbery and violence. Yes, there was violence and robbery too. Men killed their neighbors to steal their wives away in order to satiate their unbridled passions.
The Midrash enumerates their transgressions:
They ignored the commandment to be fruitful and multiply, corrupting the marital act into wide-open promiscuity for egotistical pleasure.
Men took many wives.
They exchanged their wives with other men.
They engaged in immorality with beasts.
They engaged in homosexual behavior.
Following their example, even animals perverted their ways, mating with different species.
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai teaches: “There is no sin in the world which so provokes the wrath of the Almighty as the sin of immorality, as it says, ‘A sword shall execute the vengeance of the Brit of the Covenant,’” (Zohar, Noah, 66B).
Today, when the Corona pandemic is flooding the world, a person must pause to wonder.
Rabbi Shimon continues:
“The proof is that in the generation of the Flood, the measure of sin was not filled up until mankind became sexually corrupted by misusing their seed. And although they robbed each other, and the earth was filled with violence, yet it was because ‘the earth was corrupted (תשחת) before G-d that their doom was finally pronounced, as it says, ‘Behold, I will destroy משחית them,’ measure for measure they were destroyed (from the root word שחת) because they corrupted their ways (also from the root word שחת)” ... (Bereshit, 38:9).
Noah was saved from the global destruction because he safeguarded the Brit of Covenant, which is sealed on the organ of reproduction, as it says, “These are the generations of Noah; Noah was a tzaddik” (Bereshit, 6:9).
The Zohar explains that the appellation “Tzaddik” is only given to a person who safeguards the Brit of holiness, like with Yosef, who is called “Tzaddik” because he conquered the temptations of Potifar’s wife.
The laws of modesty and proper marital relations are the foundations of life, deserving of extra study and adherence, for the benefit of the individual, the Jewish People, and the world.
Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: "The Kuzari For Young Readers" and "Tuvia in the Promised Land". His books are available on Amazon. Recently, he directed the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman."