Noach had three sons, each with different meanings behind their names. The name Shem infers that you should have a shem tov, a good name. Cham's name refers to the trait of being warm with others; Yefes is defined as being nice. It is important to note that the name "Noach" features the attribute of spreading one’s charm to all whom one encounters. The Orthodox Queens Jewish community is privileged to have within its rabbinic leadership HaRav Noach Isaac Oelbaum, whose magnetic charisma has captivated world Jewry of all backgrounds. Chazaq is fortunate to have the adam gadol on as its posek.

The pasuk says that “Noach was the biggest tzadik in his generations.” This concept was made popular in recent months by the "Thank You, Hashem" movement in a song by Mendy Worch, inspired by Rabbi Jungreis of the Niklesburg - Woodburne Shul. Do these holy words imply that Noach wouldn’t be the greatest scholar in Avraham Aveinu’s generation? One can rest assured that if Avraham and Noach would be together in a cold room, Noach would make sure everyone, especially in his family, had a warm coat. For his part, Avraham would ensure that the heaters were on, taking care of the masses, while Noach would take care of his “family.”

In the parshah, we learn of Yeshivas Shem v’Eiver, which is spoken of as a great yeshivah from that era. In this respect, Hashem expressed much satisfaction in Avraham for going out to do kiruv and outreach.

Probably the most widely-puzzling query is understanding what took Noach 120 years to build a teivah, if Hashem could have done it in a split second. It is explained that Hashem orchestrated these events so people could inquire of Noach the purpose behind the teivah, and then repent. Imagine, if there would, chas v’shalom, be a tornado called “The Rav Ovadia Yosef Tornado.” His followers would be quick to demand, “How can you name a tornado after a gadol and place the fallout from the natural disaster on his shoulders?” From this, we grasp that Noach not reaching out to his neighbors was a shortcoming.

We should all get involved in outreach and “reach out” to our neighbors and friends as we spread the glory of our Creator.

 R' Yaniv Meirov

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