And the earth was corrupt (sexually immoral) before Hashem, and the earth became full of robbery. And Hashem saw the earth, and behold it had become corrupted, for all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth. And Hashem said to Noach, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth has become full of robbery because of them, and behold I am destroying them from the earth. (Braishis 6/11-13)
Zera Shimshon asks that in the first it says that that generation was “immoral and full of robbery” which denotes that there were flawed in two areas; they were morally defective and that they stole. In the next possuk, though, it only mentions that they were immoral. And in the next possuk, when Hashem declares that He will destroy mankind only the fact that the world is full of robbery is mentioned. What excactly was the defect that caused them to be destroyed?
He also asks that it is written in Talmud Yerushalmi (Sotah 1/5) that we learn from the Dor HaMabul that wherever there is indecency and immorality, destruction comes into the world. From here it would seem that indecent behaivior of that generation caused their destruction. However in Sanhedrin it says that the final verdict against the Generation of the Flood was because of robbery. Are these two passages two different opinions or can we reconcile them?
Zera Shimshon answers in light of the Gemorra Berachos (32A) that asks what is meant by the words “ve’Di -Zahav” (that is written in the beginning of Sefer Devarim. Literally it is the name of a place however Chazal explain that it is an allusion to a sin of that Bnei Yisroel committed in the Desert)? In the Yeshiva of R‘ Yannai they said (it refers to a conversation between Hashem and Moshe): Moshe said before HaKodesh Baruch Hue, “Rebono Shel Olam! The great amount of silver and gold that You showered on Yisroel until they said “Enough!” caused them to make the Golden Calf! In the Yeshiva of R‘ Yannai they explained with a analogy, “A lion does not roar (when he eats) a basket of straw but rather (when he eats) a basket of meat.”…. Rebbi Shemual bar Nachmani said in the name of R. Yonnason; from where do we know that Hashem replied that He agreed with Moshe. (As it is written,) “and silver I (Hashem) gave to them in abundance and they made a calf from gold”
In other words from the fact that Hashem agreed with Moshe’s argument we see that a person to whom Hashem made laden with money and that wealth helped him to sin, he is not so responsible for his sin.
According to this, explains Zera Shimshon, the main defect of the Dor HaMabul was really that they acted tremendously immorally.
However, this was not a certain reason for annihilation. Chazal say that Hashem showered them with such great plenty that Chazal say that Hashem gave them to taste a semblance of Olam Haba!
Therefore if they would have been content with their wealth Hashem would have not completely destroyed them because they could have claimed that it was the prosperity that caused them to act so disgustingly (like Moshe argued on behalf of Bnei Yisroel).
However, since they also stole and they were not content with their wealth, Hashem judged them that they were completely responsible for their actions and paskened that they should be totally annihilated.
According to this we can also understand how the Yerushalmi that says that “wherever there is indecency and immorality, destruction comes into the world” and the Gemoro in Sanhedrin that says that the final verdict against the Generation of the Flood was because of robbery do not contradict each other at all. The destruction came because of indecent and immoral behavior. However the final verdict was only because they stole and therefore couldn’t argue that it was their riches that caused them to act the way that they did.
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