Condemning The Future

October 8, 2021
Cheshvan 2, 5782
Candlelighting Time 6:12 PM

            We live in times when there is much hype about protecting our future generations. Whether we are discussing the enormous national debt, our environment, or world peace, we spend much time discussing if our global leaders are making responsible decisions concerning the future. However, this topic is not as recent as one might believe. It actually predates all of us reflecting the actions of Noach after the flood devastated the world. The Torah clearly states that he was righteous and even though his merit was insufficient to save the world from destruction, nonetheless, his immediately family and the entire animal kingdom survived to recreate a new world. However, it seems that Noach made a monumental error upon emerging from the ark. He planted a vineyard in order to produce wine. Actually, much prominence is given to wine in Torah. One may not partake of the produce of a vineyard for the first four years, and then we must transport the fifth year’s yield to Jerusalem and celebrate there upon its consumption. Many mitzvos are conducted utilizing wine. The four cups of the seder, kiddush on Shabbos and Yom Tov and anytime we have a special festivity wine is used to elevate the spirit of the day. Yet the Torah frowns upon Noach’s decision to immediately plant a vineyard and, of course, we must question why this is so?

            Rashi cites the Midrash that when Noach was wallowing in a drunken stupor in his tent, this alludes to the Ten Tribes which were exiled due to excessive drinking and involvement in partying. A little math will provide us with the timeline from Noach to that episode occurring hundreds of years later. Yet the Midrash associates Noach’s error with the conduct of a large portion of our nation many generations afterwards. And Noach wasn’t even part of the Jewish nation and nonetheless his influence laid the foundation for the exile of those tribes many years later. Although one may argue that Noach’s impact provoked this effect so many years later because of his eminence, therefore his actions were able to cause this to happen, still if a generation has gone amok certainly, we have reason to be concerned about the long-term effects!

            Kli Yakar quotes from the Yalkut, a Midrash, that the powers of depravity that exist in the world enjoined Noach when he planted the vineyard. They slaughtered at that time a lamb, a lion and a pig. He explains that these animals allude to the three future exiles that we would endure. The lamb represents the Egyptians who worshipped the lamb and were horrified when we used it for the Pesach sacrifice. The lion represented the Babylion exile where its ruler Nevuchadnezer was typified as a lion. And our present exile, that of Edom referred to as a pig by King David in Tehilim. Certainly, the Yalkut is not suggesting that we are necessarily imbibing wine in excessive amounts reminiscent of what Noach did, however, perhaps our lifestyle is somewhat hedonistic and resembles that mood of Noach that promoted his mistaken drinking binge. However, there is a bottom line that our actions are far reaching and therefore it behooves us to be cautious and not corrupt the ambience of our future generations.    


Noach embodied the spirit of Shabbos itself. Shabbos is the source of blessing and it is the essence of our fundamental belief in creation and acknowledgement of Hashem as the Ruler of the Universe. Noach was undaunted by the culture that surrounded him and was oppositional due to his solid connection to Hashem.