The Torah describes Noach as a “tamim,” a “tzaddik,” and one who “walked with G-d” (“es HaElokim hishalech Noach”).
What is a “tzaddik”?
This word is used to describe someone who sustains others as well as someone who exhibits strength in overcoming immoral temptations. Thus, Yosef was known as “Yosef HaTzaddik” because he supported the entire world as viceroy in Egypt and avoided the wiles of the great temptress, the wife of Potifar.
Since Noach sustained the animal world in the teivah and maintained his moral fiber while the entire world sank to the depths of moral depravity, he merited the title of “tzaddik.”
A “tamim,” of course, is someone without blemish – free of greed, laziness, anger, jealously, etc.
And a man who “walks with G-d” is someone who has answered the call of such pesukim as “Ma Hashem Elokecha sho’el me’imach, ki im l’yirah es Hashem – What does Hashem your G-d ask from you but that you should fear Hashem” and “Sof davar hakol nishma es Elokim yirah v’es mitzvosov shemor, ki zeh kol ha’adam – After everything is analyzed, fear G-d and hearken to His mitzvos for that is all of man.” Walking with G-d is the ultimate achievement.
And yet, as great as walking with G-d is, and being called a tzaddik and tamim are, Noach merited even greater praise in the Chumash. What, you might ask, can possibly top these accolades? The Torah says, “Eileh toldos Noach, Noach… – These are the accountings of Noach, Noach…” Why is “Noach” repeated? The Tosefos HaRosh answers that the second “Noach” is another praise, and we should read the verse as follows: “These are the accountings of Noach – the man who was noach,” i.e., gentle and easygoing.
Rabbeinu Tovia says the Torah repeats “Noach” to tell us that Noach was noach l’brios and noach laMakom – he got along with people and with Hashem – in line with Pirkei Avos’s statement that “kol sh’ruach hab’rios nochah heimenu, ruach HaMakom nochah heimenu – whoever finds favor in the eyes of his fellow man will find favor in the eyes of Hashem.”
On the pasuk, “V’Noach motza chein b’einei Hashem – And Noach found favor in the eyes of Hashem,” the Chofetz Chaim reportedly said, “Whoever is easygoing finds favor in the eyes of G-d.” The Chida writes that in Nachal Kedumim that “kol mishe’eino ko’eis, matza chein – anyone who avoids anger, finds favor.” The word “noach,” which means gentle, has the same letters as the word “chein” (favor).
It’s so important to train ourselves not to fly off the handle and lose our cool when confronting frustrations or problems. Problem-solving, compromising, tolerating, giving in, looking away all help one achieve the rarified trait of gentleness.
Young men and ladies who are dating would do well to look for this virtue in their prospective suitor, and marriage partners can do worlds of good for their marriages by improving in this vital area.
May we merit to follow in the footsteps of Noach, and, in that zechus, may we earn all of the Torah’s blessings.