In this weeks’ Torah portion, Noach, God reveals to Noah the plan to destroy all life on earth in a great flood. The Torah tells us that Noah merits being saved because he is righteous and walks with God.
The Sages ask, “If Noah was righteous, then why does God choose Abraham, and not Noah, to be the Father of the Jewish people?”
The answer is that when Noah is informed of the impending destruction, he remains silent and does not protest or seek to save his fellow human beings. When Abraham is told of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he argues with God that the righteous of those cities should be saved.
Only a person who was willing to show compassion for others, to argue on behalf of others, is worthy of being chosen to be the Founder of the Jewish people.
As Elie Wiesel once said on the bima of TempleEmanu-El (1985);
“The opposite of love is not hate; the opposite of love is indifference”.