Noach 5777: Our Greatest Power is Believing in Ourselves

This guest Drash is by Rachamim Bitton of Jerusalem's Nahar Shalom Yeshiva located in the Nachlaot neighborhood.


In this week’s parsha we learn about Noach and the flood that Hashem brought upon the world in his generation. We learn about the evils of the people at that time and how Hashem wiped them out and saved Noach, his family, and the essential number of animals from each species so they repopulate the post flood world.

The Pasuk teaches us that Noach only entered the Tevah once the waters forced him to. Rashi explains that Noach had little faith and this is why he only entered the Tevah once the waters forced him to.

וַיָּבֹא נֹחַ וּבָנָיו וְאִשְׁתּוֹ וּנְשֵׁי בָנָיו אִתּוֹ אֶל הַתֵּבָה מִפְּנֵי מֵי הַמַּבּוּל:

And Noah went in and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him into the ark because of the flood waters. (Bereishit 7, 7)


מפני מי המבול: אף נח מקטני אמנה היה, מאמין ואינו מאמין שיבא המבול ולא נכנס לתיבה עד שדחקוהו המים:

Because of the flood waters: Noah, too, was of those who had little faith, believing and not believing that the Flood would come, and he did not enter the ark until the waters forced him to do so. — [Gen. Rabbah 32:6]

The question is how is it possible that Noach, who was such a Tzadik that the Torah testifies to his righteousness, didn’t believe that there would be a flood, as Hashem told him. A greater question is why did he not pray for the cancellation of the decree about the flood and saving the lives of that generation?

Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Beditchev, in his ‘Kedushat Levi’, explains and answers these questions by better explaining the different types of Tzadikim.

He explains that there is a type of Tzadik who’s sole desire and intention in everything is service to Hashem. When he asks for something it is not for the fulfillment of his personal gain and for his ego. It is pure and holy.

This Tzadik also has a tremendous advantage over the second type. He believes in himself and his power which comes to him and is found by him only because of his connection and devotion to serving Hashem.

This Tzadik believes that whatever he asks of Hashem is instantly and perfectly manifested. Therefore, this Tzadik does not hesitate from praying. He prays for the generation with the empowering recognition that he is being heard, appreciated, and answered.

The second type of Tzadik always thinks he is inadequate and unworthy to pray for the cancellation of the difficult decrees because he thinks of himself so small.
This is the type of Tzadik Noach was.

The Kedushat Levi goes on to say that at the time of Nevuchad-Netzar there were great Tzadikim who had the power to cancel the evil decrees in heaven, which would cause instant cancellation of those difficult decress in this world, but Nevuchad-Netzar worked hard to make sure that the those Tzadikim would not believe in themselves and there power and they would therefore not pray.

Noach felt himself so small and insignificant, even though he was so saintly, holy, and such a great Tzadik, that he believed that he was not greater than anyone else in the generation, and that if he would survive the flood so would they. This is why he did not pray for the generation.

This, explains Rebbe Levi Yitzchak, can be understood in the words of Rashi who says that Noach was “Miktanei Emunah”, ‘From those with little faith’. It means that he had little faith in himself and therefore was not confident in his ability to help the generation and in the fact that he would be saved from the flood, even though Hashem told him he would be, and even though Hashem told him that He would bring a flood and wipe out that generation.

This point here, taught to us by Rebbe Levi Yitzchak, is one of the most important lessons we must contemplate and integrate and make its applications part of us.

We must realize that one of the greatest deterrents from getting close to Hashem, from having our prayers answered, from having real success, salvation, redemtion, and sweetness in our lives, spiritually and physically, is that we don’t truly believe that we count to Hashem. We don’t truly believe that Hashem really cares about us, really pays attention to us, to our needs, really loves us and wants to help us, and really understands us, our pain, and what we are lacking.

We don’t truly believe in our power of prayer. In the power to affect results and manifest change that we inherently possess. We don’t truly believe that it makes a difference if we commit ourselves to sitting for one more time with Hashem, and praying one more prayer, opening ourselves up to one more level of patience and introspection to connect a little deeper.

We don’t truly believe in the power of our actions, in the power of one more mitzvah, in the power of one less aveirah(transgression). We don’t truly believe in the power of one more minute of Torah study or one minute less of unnecessary speaking.

We don’t truly believe in the power of a kind word, or action to another. Making someone smile. Making someone feel heard and appreciated. Making someone feel loved and accepted.

The greatest power of the Yetzer Hara, the evil inclination and all the powers of impurity in existence, is the power of concealment and making us feel inadequate and unworthy.

The Yetzer Hara uses the power of concealment of the spirituality in this physical world as his most effective weapon and tool for destruction. He tries to make us lose faith in ourselves, in our power, and how much we mean to Hashem. He tries to make us forget or be unaware of the tremendous power in our prayers, actions, thoughts, and feelings. He tries to lower the confidence of our higher innate spiritual self, our ‘higher-self confidence’, if you will, our ‘higher-self esteem’.

One of the best things we can do for ourselves, our children, our families, and our world is to begin to really believe in our inherent power, in our significance to Hashem, in how much we mean to Him, in how beloved we are to Him, and in the unlimited power He has granted us.

A warrior is only strong if uses his strength and his weapon. A warrior will only use his strength or weapon if he believes and knows that he possesses it.

The greatest weapon in the world is useless to the warrior who isn’t aware that it is in his possession.

Rebbe Nachman teaches that the weapon of Mashiach, through which he will win all the wars he must win, in prayer. He also teaches that the power of prayer is only as great as our faith, our Emunah.

May we merit properly opening our hearts and perception to believe in ourselves and our power, and to use this power so that together we merit the final redemption with the coming of Mashiach and the building of the Bet Hamikdash speedily in our days Amen!

Shabbat Shalom!


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