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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Bereshit 1-7

In the beginning of

Genesis 5:25 – 6:8

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Gen. 6:8 NKJV

How could Noah find grace in the eyes of the LORD?

When Noah, Noach in Hebrew, was born, his father said that he would comfort them concerning their work and the toil of their hands because of the ground which the Eternal had cursed (Gen. 5:29) Chanoch, the prophet, was the grandfather of Noach's father. Noach was born into a family that feared the Eternal and that had kept the revelation of the Eternal since the days of Adam. In those days, the Torah was not written yet. Then, how could Noach’s father know that the Eternal had cursed the earth? This was due to oral tradition kept for nine generations since Adam. The people from Cain’s line had deviated their ways from righteousness and lived a disgraceful life before the Eternal. Even Seth's or Shet’s line had been infected by their evil ways. "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (6:5 NKJV)

The situation was terrible, such that the Eternal decided to destroy everyone. But there was an exception, Noach. Noach found grace in the eyes of the Eternal. What does this expression mean? In Modern Hebrew, it is used to say that something is nice. Instead of saying "I like it", it is said "It finds grace in my eyes". If it is a person, instead of saying, "I like him or her" it is said "he or she finds grace in my eyes". It is important to notice that the modern expression does not have exactly the same meaning that the Torah implies in this verse.

The word grace, chen in Hebrew, has to do with favour. What this verse is saying is that HaShem wasn't pleased with the other men of the earth, yet with Noach He was. When the Eternal saw the behaviour and motivation of the rest of mankind, He felt a deep sorrow and didn't want to see them anymore. But when He saw Noach, He liked him. Why? Is the Eternal fickle and would He think: "I like this one, but that one I don't"? No, the Eternal is not guided by whims or by fluctuating feelings but by very well defined rules that can never ever change.

Now, in the Eternal's heart there is a very important balance between strict justice and mercy. If He was inclined only to the side of justice the world would be destroyed immediately because of its sin. But if He would only follow mercy, the world would self-destroy due to the lack of order. HaShem cannot stop being righteous even when He shows His mercy and cannot stop being merciful when He enforces justice. What is wonderful about the Eternal is that He is isusually inclined towards mercy and grace. This means that many times He overlooks mens’ faults and takes into account their good choices instead, as it is written in Psalm 103:10-11: "He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him." The key phrase here is "those who fear Him". Those who fear the Eternal and repent from their wrong doing, and seek righteousness and truth, receive mercy. They please the Eternal, He likes them and they gain favour from Him.

So when Noach gained favour before the Eternal, it means that it was the result of having being different from those who didn't please Him. What is the difference between them and him? That Noach's attitude and deeds were different. Noach wasn't evil, he neither had bad intentions nor bad thoughts in his heart nor did he wrong. And if he did so, he repented and made an effort to abandon his fault because he feared and loved the Eternal. That is why he found grace in the eyes of the Eternal.

However, any grace that man may find before the Eternal will always be higher than what he deserves. That is the great secret of the Eternal's grace. It is an undeserved favour or a higher favour than that deserved.

Dear disciple, say NO to evil doing, to bad thoughts and to bad words; seek those things that please the Eternal. This way, you will also find grace in His eyes.

May the Eternal give you a Shabbat full of His grace


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