After the flood, Noah fell into depression and got drunk. According to our oral tradition, he complained to God that it had been wrong to destroy the world.
God’s response: “Now you tell me? It’s too late. Why didn’t you say something beforehand?”
It’s a simple message, but so powerful. If you stay silent while something objectionable goes on, don’t later complain about the result.
I heard a statement recently that depression oriented toward the past, fear toward the future. Neither exist in the present.
Noah was the bridge between the pre-flood and post-flood worlds, yet, we never see him recovering from his depression. His focus remained on the past, and he played little part in rebuilding the post-flood world.
All growth happens in the present. We grow by doing, by learning, by contributing. When? Now.
Noah was the greatest man in his generation. Yet, when the rest of his generation was gone, he let part of him die with them and stopped moving forward.
I love that we read the portion of Noah at the beginning of the Jewish year. To me it’s a reminder that the mistakes of the past need to remain there, that this present moment has to be one for moving forward.