How did God answer Noah when he came out of the ark he saw the whole world destroyed. He began to cry for the world and said, “Master of the world, You are called Compassionate! You should have shown compassion for Your creatures!” The Holy One answered him, “Foolish shepherd! Now you say this, but not when I spoke to you tenderly, saying ‘Make yourself an ark of gopher wood…’ (Gen. 6:14
).” Because I saw that you were righteous before me, I lingered with you and spoke to you at length so that you would ask for mercy for the world! But as soon as you heard that you would be safe in the ark, the evil of the world did not touch your heart. You built the ark and saved yourself. Now that the world has been destroyed you utter questions and pleas?”
This text was compiled by Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon, Marcelo Bronstein and Felicia Sol of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York, NY, for Rabbi Matalon’s teaching on the American Jewish World Service Rabbinical Student Delegation. Their work was based on and inspired by The Dignity of Difference by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.