Bereshit – Sh’vi’i

They Might Be Giants

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Chanoch’s son was Methuselah (Mesushelach), who holds the record for oldest recorded lifespan (969 years). Methusaleh’s grandson was Noah (Noach), so named because his father predicted that he would bring relief and comfort to the world. (“Noach” is derived from “yenachameinu” – “he will comfort us.”) Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham (Cham) and Japheth (Yefes).

The population of Earth had grown significantly by this time. Powerful people (some would say “fallen” angels) would marry whomever they chose. They fathered “giants” – possibly referring to their height, possibly to their power. G-d decreed that the lifespan of a person – which until that time was often in the hundreds of years – would be reduced until it eventually reached an upper cap of 120 years. (Even then there would be exceptions, but they would be increasingly rare.)

G-d saw that people were growing ever more evil. Everything they did, all day long, was corrupt. Not happily, G-d decided that he had to wipe out just about everything and start again. The only bright spot was Noah.

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