Parashas Noach

The Midrash expounds (Bereishis Rabbah 27:1):
“And Hashem saw that the evil of man was great” (Bereishis 6:5). It is written (Koheles 2:21): “There is a man who labors with wisdom, with knowledge, and with skill.” Said R. Yudan: “Great is the power of the prophets, who compare the creation to its Creator. As it is written (Daniel 8:16): ‘And I heard a human voice in the middle of the Ulai [Stream].’” Said R. Yehudah bar Siemon: “We have another verse that is clearer than that one. As it is written (Yechezkel 1:26), ‘And on the form of the throne, above it, there was a form having an appearance like that of a man.’” … “But gives over his portion to someone who did not labor for it” (end of Koheles 2:21)—this refers to the generation of the flood. “This, too, is futility and a great evil.” [Thus (Bereishis 6:5):] “And Hashem saw that the evil of man was great within the world.”
The Maggid explains this Midrash as follows. When Shlomo HaMelech, in Koheles 2:21, speaks of man’s laboring with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, he is referring to the fact that man acts entirely out of free choice. And when the Midrash speaks of man’s being compared to his Creator, it is referring to this power of free choice. In the generation of the flood, all the creations of the world adopted deviant patterns of behavior (Sanhedrin 108a), but only man did so out of free will. The other creations were forced into deviant behavior, due to the rupture in the fabric of nature that man’s evil had produced. Hence the Torah puts all the blame on man, declaring: “The evil of man was great within the world.” The perversion among the creations of the world reflected the evil of man, for this was the root cause.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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