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The parsha ends with the description of the birth of Noach. The Lord so to speak acknowledges Noach’s righteousness and Noach finds grace and acceptance in the eyes of the Lord. The rabbis taught that there were ten generations from Adam till Noach. No one else appeared in those ten generations that apparently merited finding special grace and acceptance in the eyes of the Lord until the arrival of Noach. And Noach reaped the unclaimed reward of all of those generations.

But Noach himself receives, at best, mixed reviews from the Midrash and Talmud as to his greatness. This attitude is seen throughout the commentators and the Torah text itself of next week’s parsha of Noach. In fact the Midrash states at the conclusion of this week’s parsha that it was Noach who found grace in the eyes of God – as Noach believed that he found such acceptance. But that the Lord did not find such grace to be present in the situation.
This comes to emphasize the crushing disappointment that the beginning ten generations of the human race reflected. The Torah itself gives expression to this fact in stating that God, so to speak, regretted the entire venture of creating humans and allowing them freedom of will and behavior.
Humankind, even mostly righteous humankind such as Noach, is a big bust, a huge failure, a mistake of major consequence. The parsha of Bereshith contains within it every major type of criminal behavior imaginable – idolatry, murder, immorality, depravity, slavery, conquest, curses and rampant violence. It is a very bleak picture that the Torah paints for us in its opening words and chapters.   
So why then does God so to speak put up with all of this evil? Again, as we will see in next week’s parsha, the punishment of the flood, of the destruction of millions for their sins, has little effect upon the next generations of humankind. So why not give up on the whole venture and let God stick to creating angels - those who have no free will and never sin and always do His bidding?
But the Lord has patience. He will now wait another ten generations until finally a human being arises to vindicate God’s experiment in creating human beings. Rashi quotes Midrash in this week’s parsha that the creation of the heavens and of the earth, of our entire complex and wondrous universe is justified only through the arrival of our father Avraham.
God is willing, so to speak, to wait twenty generations, to see millions of people go astray and rebel against Him, because one individual will make it all worthwhile. Adam could have been that individual but he never recovered from his fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Noach could have been that individual but he never recovered from the trauma of the flood and his resultant drunken behavior.
But we see that in God’s eyes one lone individual can vindicate the entire process of creation. Each of us in our daily lives and interaction with others can be that one individual. The rabbis said that every person has to say to one’s self “the universe was created for me alone.” The task of humans to vindicate through their actions and behavior God’s creation remains the challenge to all of us – certainly as the new year begins.
Shabat Shalom.
Rabbi Berel Wein 

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