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בעצם היום הזה בא נח... אל התבה

On that very day Noach came… into the Ark. (7:13)

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Can you imagine being too lazy to repent – even when you see clearly in black and white that the punishment for your sins is imminent? This is exactly what took place when Noach entered the Teivah, Ark. Rashi quotes the Sifri (Ha’azinu, Bereishis Rabbah) that Hashem made a point to have Noach enter the Ark b’etzem hayom, in midday, in full view of everyone. Apparently, Noach’s compatriats were determined to prevent him from entering the Ark and saving himself. They declared that they would destroy the Ark and kill Noach. Hashem showed them that man is powerless before G-d.

Now, let us analyze these people. Clearly, they believed that there would be a flood. For one hundred and twenty years, they listened to Noach announce the end was coming. Hashem was going to wipe everyone out. They believed it enough to threaten Noach’s welfare. Even when it began to rain, they did nothing but attempt to kill Noach. Why did they not get with the program and repent? Horav Yaakov Kamenetzky, zl, explains that they were lazy. Indolence can be devastating. Not only is it a human deficiency, but we see here that it ultimately cost the people of Noach’s generation their lives. They could have repented. They should have repented, but they did not, because repentance demands effort. They were not willing to go that far.

I just came across an interesting quote: “Tomorrow is the only day of the year that appeals to a lazy man.” Machar, tomorrow, is more than laziness; it is the word which identifies and defines Amalek, who always pushes it off until the next day. We hear a great, inspirational shmuess, lecture; we are enthusiastic and inclined to change, to accept positive resolutions in our life. The Amalek/yetzer hora, evil inclination, within us says: “Great idea, but why not wait until the morning. Tomorrow is as good as today; what is the rush?” Tomorrow we are no longer in the mood. Amalek has won.