In this week’s parshah, the Torah uses two slightly different words to indicate that Noach waited. Rashi explains that in the first instance, the word וייחל simply means that Noach waited. However, in the next instance, the Torah tells us that Noach had to “make himself wait” before sending out the dove again.
The Torah is relating how anxious Noach was to leave the תיבה. Noach had just sent out the dove, which returned with an olive branch as evidence that the waters had receded from the earth. Noach knew that sending out the dove again immediately would be meaningless since the water had not sufficiently receded. Yet the Torah tells us that Noach found this waiting difficult, and he had to “make himself” wait.
Rav Moshe Feinstein זצ“ל explained that the Torah is stressing this point to show us the righteousness of Noach. Despite the fact that he so desperately desired to leave the תיבה, he realized that Hashem in His infinite wisdom wished him to remain inside for a predetermined amount of time. The תיבה was more than a mere method of saving him and his family, since Hashem could have chosen a different option to save them. Since Hashem willed him to be in the תיבה, Noach did not leave until Hashem expressly commanded him to do so.
Rav Moshe is explaining how to achieve the middah of patience, סבלנות. The secret is to remember that everything is part of Hashem’s plan and to realize that one must be patient to allow for Hashem’s will to take form. Patience is the only course of action – because there is no other alternative; impatience will not yield any results. Impatience is also the hallmark of immaturity (Mommy, I want it now!). As children mature, they are able to be more patient and to tolerate delays. We, as parents, can help our children progress by working on our own middah of סבלנות and providing a role model for them to learn from.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School