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Preparing for “Plan B”

There is a great deal of debate surrounding Parashat Noah, however, there is one Perek in particular that has been a source of struggle for me. If you look at the end of Parashat Bereishit, it says in Perek 6:5- “Hashem saw that Man’s wickedness was great on the earth and every inclination in his heart was only for evil all day long.” This leads into Pasuk 7, which says:”Hashem said I will obliterate mankind that I created from the face of the earth…  because I regret that I made them.” 

Middle School Judaic Studies Teacher Jerry Shapiro challenging his students.

We all know where this leads us –  into the flood and the destruction of everything except what is in the Teivah [Ark]. After the flood, Noah emerges a changed man, and makes sacrifices to Hashem

In Perek 8, Pasuk 21 of Parashat Noah, it states, “Hashem said in his heart never again will I curse the ground because of man, because the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” The reason Hashem gives in Bereishit for destroying the world is the same reason he says he will never do it again. This, obviously, seems perplexing.

The Ramak Rabbi Moshe Kordevo basically says that Hashem understood that human beings were not able to change, compelling Hashem to overlook these flaws. 

We can say that initially, Hashem put “Plan A” into effect, which was to destroy a corrupt world, “regretting the creation of humankind and resolving to wipe it out” along with “beasts, creeping things, and birds of the sky,” (Bereishit 6:7). Perhaps Noah’s actions offered Hashem a ray of hope and optimism, and so, he formed “Plan B,” putting an entirely new structure in place.

It would be helpful for each of us to take on this Midah in our personal lives. We get angry with people over certain behaviors that at a certain time in their lives, they are simply not able to change. Like Hashem, we have to find a way to let it go; to create “Plan B” for ourselves and how we respond to others.

At first I thought this “revelation” was great. I could tell my wife that if Hashem was willing to overlook the people’s flaws because they were not yet ready for change, she should apply the same way of thinking  with me.

After spending more time contemplating what the Ramak said, I started asking myself the question, how does this apply to a parent-child or teacher-student relationship? If an individual does not follow expectations or aspirations, perhaps we need to pivot, and come up with “Plan B,” which allows for a new structure, a new way of thinking, and a  new, more optimistic way to relate to one another. 

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