Genesis 6 | God Regrets? [🎥]

(ו) וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם ה' כִּֽי־עָשָׂ֥ה אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֖ם בָּאָ֑רֶץ וַיִּתְעַצֵּ֖ב אֶל־לִבּֽוֹ׃

(6) And ה' regretted having made humankind on earth. With a sorrowful heart,

(א) ...וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁנִּתְאַבֵּל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיִּנָחֵם ה' כִּי עָשָׂה אֶת הָאָדָם וַיִּתְעַצֵּב אֶל לִבּוֹ (בראשית ו, ו). וְאֵין עֲצִיבָה אֶלָּא אֵבֶל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַתְּהִי הַתְּשׁוּעָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לְאֵבֶל עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי אָמַר הָעָם כִּי נֶעֱצַב הַמֶּלֶךְ עַל בְּנוֹ (ש״ב יט, ג). וְכֵן עֶזְרָא אָמַר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהָיוּ בּוֹכִין אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו וְאִישׁ אֶל בְּנוֹ, לְכוּ אִכְלוּ מִשְׁמַנִּים וּשְׁתוּ וְגוֹ' וְאַל תֵּעָצְבוּ כִּי חֶדְוַת ה' הִיא מָעֻזְּכֶם (נחמיה ח, י). בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה שָׁמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שִׁבְעַת יְמֵי הָאֵבֶל עַד שֶׁלֹּא הֵבִיא אֶת הַמַּבּוּל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיְהִי לְשִׁבְעַת הַיָּמִים וּמֵי הַמַּבּוּל הָיוּ עַל הָאָרֶץ (בראשית ז, י). וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו, כְּשֵׁם שֶׁנִּתְאַבֵּל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל עוֹלָמוֹ עַד שֶׁלֹּא הֵבִיא אֶת הַמַּבּוּל, אַף אַתֶּם שִׁמְרוּ אֶת יְמֵי הָאֵבֶל עַד שֶׁלֹּא יַגִּיעַ בָּכֶם.

(1) ... Where is it shown that He mourned [before the flood]? Where it is stated (in Gen. 6:6), “Then the Lord regretted that He had made humanity on the earth, and He was grieving in his heart.” [The expression] “He was grieving” can only mean, He mourned. For so it says concerning David (in II Sam. 19:3), “And the victory [on that day] was turned into mourning for all the people because [on that day they heard it being said,] ‘The king was grieving over his son.’” So also Ezra said to Israel when they were weeping, each one for his brother and each one for his child (in Neh. 8:10), “Go, eat choice foods and drink sweet drinks…. Do not be grieving, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” It is therefore stated (in Gen. 6:6), “and He was grieving in his heart.” At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, observed the seven days of mourning, before He brought the flood. Thus it is stated (in Gen. 7:10), “And it came to pass after seven days [that the waters of the flood came upon the earth].” And so Moses was saying to Aaron the priest and to his sons, “Just as the Holy One, blessed be He, mourned over His world before He brought the flood, so [you are to] observe the [required] mourning before it touches (i.e., harms) you.” So they observed [the mourning], but they did not know for what reason they were observing it.

(ד) וַיִּנָּחֶם ה' כִּי עָשָׂה אֶת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ (בראשית ו, ו)

...אֶפִּיקוֹרֶס אֶחָד שָׁאַל אֶת רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן קָרְחָה, אָמַר לוֹ אֵין אַתֶּם אוֹמְרִים שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא רוֹאֶה אֶת הַנּוֹלָד, אָמַר לוֹ הֵן. וְהָא כְתִיב וַיִּתְעַצֵּב אֶל לִבּוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ נוֹלַד לְךָ בֶּן זָכָר מִיָּמֶיךָ, אָמַר לוֹ הֵן, אָמַר לוֹ מֶה עָשִׂיתָ, אָמַר לוֹ שָׂמַחְתִּי וְשִׂמַּחְתִּי אֶת הַכֹּל, אָמַר לוֹ וְלֹא הָיִיתָ יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁסּוֹפוֹ לָמוּת, אָמַר לוֹ בִּשְׁעַת חֶדְוָתָא חֶדְוָתָא, בִּשְׁעַת אֶבְלָה אֶבְלָה. אָמַר לוֹ כָּךְ מַעֲשֶׂה לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, דְּאָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי שִׁבְעָה יָמִים נִתְאַבֵּל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל עוֹלָמוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁלֹא יָבוֹא מַבּוּל לָעוֹלָם, מַאי טַעְמֵיהּ וַיִּתְעַצֵּב אֶל לִבּוֹ, וְאֵין עֲצִיבָה אֶלָא אֲבֵלוּת, הֵיךְ מָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר (שמואל ב יט, ג): נֶעֱצַב הַמֶּלֶךְ עַל בְּנוֹ.

(4) "And God regretted that he made man on earth" (Bereishit 6:6).

...Once, an apikores asked Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa, "Don't you say that the Holy One blessed is He sees the future?" Rabbi Yehoshua replied "Indeed." The apikores retorted "But isn't it written 'and He was sad on His heart'?!" [i.e. Didn't God know that He would later regret the decision?] Rabbi Yehoshua said "Has a male child ever been born to you?" He said "Indeed". Rabbi Yehoshua asked "What did you do [when your son was born]?" He said "I was happy and made everyone happy". Rabbi Yehoshua said "But didn't you know that your son will die in the end?" He said "At the time of joy I am joyous; at the time of mourning I am mournful". Rabbi Yehoshua said "So too is the work [of creation] before the Holy One blessed is He." As Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says "The Holy One blessed is He mourned over the world for seven days before the Flood came". What is the reason [for comparing sadness to mourning]? It says "and He was sad to His heart" and there is no sadness without mourning, as it says "[The king] was sad about his son" (I Shmuel 19:3).