Wednesday, January 12, 2005

What did people think of Noach?

Imagine if, starting December 1, an old man with a beard was walking around Manhattan. He wore a sandwich sign, saying "The end is nigh! If you don't repent, there will be a big wave that will engulf 11 countries to punish the godless, killing hundreds of thousands. After that, there will be a major mudslide in California, with more consecutive days of rain than have ever been seen since they started measuring rainfall. REPENT!!"
Disclaimer: I'm not in any way saying that those were the reasons for the tragedies. I'm just trying to illustrate a point.
What would you do? Think he was nuts? Ignore him and walk away? What would you do if he was doing it for 2 months? A year? What if he lived in Sri Lanka and started building a ship 5 years ago, and told people that he was building a ship to escape the waves that would come?
It just puts things in perspective, perhaps. Was there a better way? Possibly. I don't know. I just wonder, had I been in the time of Noach, whether I would have listened.


leati said...

I would have probably ignored him. If some crazy old man has nothing better to do, who am I to take away his hobby? I might have even dropped a few coins in his hand as I walked by muttering, "Oy, nebach..."

What happens if someone does that now? If you walk out tomorrow and see some guy near the subway shouting xyz would you take any of it to heart?

TRW said...

No, I agree with you. And I probably would have the same reaction.
But should we repent when the old guy at the subway tells us to? Of course!
We can learn a lesson from everyone..

The Perfect Ema said...

If I understand things correctly, things were different in those days. People knew there was a G-d. It was only 10 generations before that man was created. i don't know the timeline off the top of my fingers, but Adam did not die much before this whole episode. The concept of worshipping other things besides G-d began in the third generation with Enosh, a mere seven generations before. It sounds like a long time but when the average life expectancy was around 700-800 years, people saw their ancestors. In addition, people were also on a different "madreiga," meaning they had more use to their extrasensory abilities and perhaps comprehended deity better than we do now. Correct me if i am wrong, but i think what i posted is corrrect (at least to some extent...)

But you are right, you do have a good point. Would we listen if a navi would tell us something? Bnei yisrael often did not listen to neveim, even though they KNEW it was a direct message from G-d. And what about nowadays when there are no neveim? We are supposed to listen to our chachamim (rabbanim). Even if they didn't "see a n'vuah," what they say is indirectly from Hashem, and nowadays our avodah is to listen to them. If we don't listen to the people that we are obligated to listen to ("if they say right is left and left is wrong you still have to listen to them"), then why would we listen to some crazy guy!! (even if they do say nevuah was given to the fools and children nowadays (wink).)

defen said...

If I'm on the subway and I hear some idiot quoting out loud from the bible, and he reads some passage that says to repent so that I don't burn in hell, I hope that I would listen to him. Of course I don't give any credence or validity to his religion or what he's quoting from. But wow - that's God talking directly to me right there! Because if it wasn't Hashem sending me a personal message, I would have ended up in the next subway car...

Stx said...

Ema--I'm gonna play Devil's Advocate here:

"If I understand things correctly, things were different in those days. People knew there was a G-d."

And we don't?

"Adam did not die much before this whole episode...people saw their ancestors..."

They saw WHAT about their ancestors? How much THEY too were worshipping Avodah Zara? And yes, Adam was around, but he was ONE GREAT INDIVIDUAL, one of very few, in the midst of an immoral society. We've got a few great individuals in our midst too. And the rest of the world's immoral. But it's the WHOLE rest of the world, and sometimes easier to follow than the great few.

And I'm not sure about the madrega thing. Gotta think about that one...

Jockey said...

If he wasn't hysterical, I'd stop and talk to him. I used to know all of the homeless ppl in my neighborhood, and spent a lot of time talking to them. then i started listening to jewish music, and ashrei ha'ish asher lo'yashav b'atzav reshaim, oo'moshav letzaim lo yashav started running through my head. but i still think id talk to someone with such a discussion- provoking sign.