Weekly Drash - Noach
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
The Righteous Man
Noach - נח : “Noah”
Thought for the Week:
Rabbi Eleazar also said, “God would have created the world even for just one righteous man … Rabbi Chiyya bar Abba said also in the name of Rabbi Yochanon: “The world endures for even just one righteous man, as it is said [Proverbs 10:25]: ‘But the righteous is the foundation of the world.’” (Yoma 38b)
In Rabbinic literature and later esoteric teachings, the person of the tzadik (righteous man) began to take on important theological functions. A true tzadik (righteous person) came to be regarded as one who was perfect and sinless, inspired by the Holy Spirit and on whom the Divine Presence rested. His prayers were always answered. “The effective prayer of a tzadik (righteous person) can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)
Even more astounding, Judaism came to regard the suffering and death of the righteous as propitiation for the sins of that man’s generation. The reasoning behind this is self-evident. If suffering and death are the result of sin, then for what do the sinless-righteous suffer? Obviously their suffering must be on the account of other’s sins. It is an important theological premise presupposed by the Gospel.
The connection between a righteous man and his generation was further developed in Pharisaic Judaism and applied to the teacher/disciple relationship of Rabbinic communities. Disciples of a righteous man were thought to share in the merit of their teacher. A true righteous man is considered God’s representative on earth because His sinless state leaves him transparent to reveal God through his every word, action and deed.
As believers in Messiah, we affirm each and every one of these premises regarding the perfectly sinless, righteous man. “The Righteous One” was a title the early believers applied to Messiah. Yeshua’s merit is sufficient to justify the creation and preservation of the world, He is inspired by and inhabited by the Holy Spirit, His suffering and death are propitiating, His disciples share in His merit, He is a revelation of God through His every word and deed, the glory of God in human flesh. We also believe that there is only one such perfectly righteous man in all of history. And it wasn’t Noah.
Nevertheless, Noah is the first man to be called a tzadik. Thus the Torah uses him to teach us about the ultimate and true tzadik Messiah. Just as salvation for the whole of humankind and all life upon the earth, came only through Noah, so too it is only through Messiah that men might be saved.
1. Acts 3:14, 7:52, 22:14
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
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