As we read about the mabul that destroyed an entire generation, and left only NOACH with his family intact in the safety of the Teivoh, we need to give this a little thought.
What was the severity of the sin of that generation – unlike any other, that meant that they needed to be wiped off the face of the earth ?
The Gemoro in Sanhedrin Daf 108 (same Gematria as chomos and meiNoach) teaches us that the decree was sealed because of stealing.
Lo nechtamgzardinomelo al hagezel.
Is the sin of stealing that severe?
- The Ramban explains that it is common sense. A person understands without needing to be told that he cannot take another’s possessions. Therefore, this aveiro was punished very severely
- The MeloHo’omer explains this differently. We learn in ParshatTazriya that when Hashem needs to punish us, He first punishes our wealth, then, our homes and only later do we receive a bodily punishment. Tzora’as would first come on one’s home, then on his clothes and only later if he still refused to repent, would the plague come upon his body.
With this in mind, he wonders why the DorHamabul were wiped out – shouldn’t they have been punished with their wealth at the outset?
Both questions are now resolved – with each other. Indeed, it would have been fairer to punish their money at first – but this couldn’t be achieved as they were stealing and their money wasn’t their own – thus they were punished by death immediately.
The DushinskiRebbezatza’l adds that this is hinted to in the Possuk.
‘KetzKolbosorbolefonai’ which can be understood to mean that the end of all flesh – has come at the first instance ‘ ‘Ki molohho’oretzchomos’, since they are all involved in theft!
- The ChofetzChaim offers a different explanation. He says that while every bad deed that we do creates a prosecuting angel that seeks to harm us, they are all nervous to open the proceedings against us. No angel wants to speak and be heard first.
However the angel creating by stealing – is created with chutzpah as one needs to be possessed with a large amount of audacity to steal from another – and thus this prosecuting angel – with chutzpah – speaks first and attacks us for the sin of theft at the beginning.
May we be zoche to learn to be more careful with others and their possessions and merit to be the ‘nekichapayim’ who will ultimately be ‘yisobrochomei’eisHashem’.