Good Deeds vs. Children by Effie Richmond


eshvan 5762              October 20, 2001              Vol.11 No.6



Parshat Noach starts off with the words “Eileh Toldot Noach, Noach Ish Tzaddik,” Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l in his Sefer, Darash Moshe, brings down the Rashi on that Pasuk.  Rashi says that we learn from this Pasuk that the most important trait of a righteous man is good deeds.  The Gemara (Moed Katan 27b) quotes a Pasuk in Yirmiyahu (22:10) that says, “You should weep for the one who went away.”  This Pasuk is talking about people who passed away with out children.  We can infer from the Rashi that this is not talking about people with good deeds because those people are considered having children.  We learn from a Pasuk in Yeshayahu that Hashem comforts those people who do not have children by telling them that if they keep His commandments and they keep the Shabbat and they follow the will of Hashem that’s that is better having children.  So Hashem is saying that good deeds are better than children and that it is better to have no children but good deeds than having children but not good deeds.

Even though it is true for most people that it is better to have good deeds than children, this was not true with Noach.  Noach’s main offspring was his physical offspring, because Noach’s children were the only humans left after the flood.  With that true, how could you say that Noach’s good deeds were more important than his children who were the basis of all the future human life?  If the Pasuk was trying to convey that to us then Noach’s good deeds should have been put in another part of the Parsha where the children of Noach were not so important for the survival of human life.

  If it were not for Noach’s good deeds however, there would have been no good in the world.  As a result, Hashem would not have considered it worthwhile to continue the world.  The Pasuk uses Noach as an example of good deeds to show that even in Noach’s case Hashem chose a man’s good deeds over having children.  With this true, even though having children is important for the continuing of life, having good deeds, which are our spiritual offspring are more important. 

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