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I'm having some trouble tracking down a source I saw earlier that I'd like to review.

Around Beresheit 18:18 when Hashem is deciding whether or not to tell Avraham about the impending destruction of Sodom ( וַֽיהֹוָ֖ה אָמָ֑ר הַֽמְכַסֶּ֤ה אֲנִי֙ מֵֽאַבְרָהָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר אֲנִ֥י עֹשֶֽׂה׃) one of the commentators contrasts how Hashem treats Avraham - i.e. he confides in him and gives him a chance to plead for Sodom, vs. how Hashem treats Noach where Hashem just tells Noach that the world will be destroyed. The commentator also mentions how Moshe is also allowed to plead for Bnei Yisrael when Hashem was going to destroy us.

Does anyone happen to recognize who made this observation, and where he made it?

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    It could be from the Talmud. I think it is a possible source. The Talmud addresses some criticism regarding Noah. Noah walked with G-d for Noah has perfect faith. That was it. Abraham, on the other hand walked before G-d, leading the way. In other words, Moshe and Abraham questioned the divine decree, the verdict to destroy Sodom and Israel where Noah took the threat with blind faith and saved himself. Israel means to struggle with G-d. We should question everything, even G-d, as the patriarchs have done and not rely on G-d or blind faith. A Midrash says even a fool can be a righteous fool. – Turk Hill Nov 13 '19 at 4:41
  • That could be a good place to look, do you happen to know where? Masechet? Daf? – Brad Nov 13 '19 at 5:02
  • Yes. Rabbi Judah in the Midrash Genesis Rabbah questioned Noah’s ‘righteous.’ He said in the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 108a, regarding Noah, that “In a street of totally blind people, a one-eyed man is called clear-sighted, and an infant a scholar.” – Turk Hill Nov 13 '19 at 5:14
  • Rabbi Nehemiah said that while Noah in Genesis 6:9 “walked with G-d,” Abraham in 17:1 walks “before Me [G-d].” which means that Noah had to rely on G-d while Avraham led the way. Some went as far as to say that Noah was only righteous in his generation (and would not be in another) simply because he did not warn anyone about the coming flood. Indeed the Mishnah, Pirke Avot 2:6 says that: “An individual who acts without reason can still be a righteous fool.” – Turk Hill Nov 13 '19 at 5:14
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Here is a partial source, from זוהר ח"א סז ע"ב comparing Noah negatively with Moshe, who prayed for his generation:

תא חזי מה בין משה לשאר בני עלמא. בשעתא דאמר לה קודשא בריך הוא למשה 'ועתה הניחה לי' וגו' 'ואעשה אותך לגוי גדול' וגו', מיד אמר משה: וכי אשבוק דינהון דישראל בגיני? השתא יימרון כל אינון בני עלמא דאנא קטלית לון לישראל, כמה דעבד נח. דכיוון דאמר ליה קודש אבריך הוא דישזיב ליה בתיבותא, דכתיב 'ואני הנני מביא את המבול מים' וגו', וכתיב 'ומחיתי את כל היקום אשר עשיתי מעל פני האדמה ואני הנני מקים את בריתי וגו' ובאת אל התבה', כיוון דאמר ליה דישתזיב הוא ובנוי, לא בעא רחמין על עלמא ואתאבידו. ובגין כך אקרון מי המבול על שמיה כמה דאת אמר 'כי מי נח זאת לי אשר נשבעתי מעבור מי נח'.

(I found it here.)

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  • Yes, this was it! Thanks – Brad Nov 14 '19 at 3:38
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    It's also worth pointing out that Rashbi in your quotation also compares Avraham negatively to Moshe Rabbeinu. The Zohar explains that only Moshe actually prayed for his generation until G-d reversed His decree. It also says that G-d told Noach of the impending flood hoping that Noach would pray for his generation like Moshe ultimately did. Instead, Noach merely followed G-d's instructions to build the ark. Rashbi emphasizes that Noach was absolutely righteous but failed to pray for his generation. – Yaacov Deane Nov 14 '19 at 20:21
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Rabbi Judah in the Midrash Genesis Rabbah questioned Noah’s ‘righteous.’ He said in the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 108a, regarding Noah, that “In a street of totally blind people, a one-eyed man is called clear-sighted, and an infant a scholar.”

Rabbi Nehemiah said that while Noah in Genesis 6:9 “walked with G-d,” Abraham in 17:1 walks “before Me [G-d].” which means that Noah had to rely on G-d while Avraham led the way. Some went as far as to say that Noah was only righteous in his generation (and would not be in another) simply because he did not warn anyone about the coming flood. Indeed the Mishnah, Pirke Avot 2:6 says that: “An individual who acts without reason can still be a righteous fool.”

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  • How does this answer the question? – DonielF Nov 14 '19 at 1:23
  • @DonielF The question was "Looking for a source about Avraham compared to Noah" I can't see how this does not answer the question. – Turk Hill Nov 14 '19 at 2:21
  • Wasn’t just about comparing Avraham to Noach, but comparing Avraham arguing with Hashem on others’ behalf to Noach’s silent acquiescence. You definitely mention that Noach was quiet, but you don’t quote a source that explicitly contrasts specifically these two points. – DonielF Nov 14 '19 at 2:22
  • I quoted the Talmud, Sanhedrin 108a and the Mishnah, Pirke Avot 2:6. – Turk Hill Nov 14 '19 at 2:23
  • Which mention nothing about Avraham. – DonielF Nov 14 '19 at 2:24
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It looks like it's coming from Bereshit Rabbah 49:2 on Bereshit 18:18, which says:

אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בְּרַבִּי סִימוֹן לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ שְׁלשָׁה אוֹהֲבִים וְלֹא הָיָה עוֹשֶׂה דָּבָר חוּץ מִדַּעְתָּן, פַּעַם אַחַת בִּקֵּשׁ הַמֶּלֶךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר חוּץ מִדַּעְתָּן, נָטַל אֶת הָרִאשׁוֹן וּטְרָדוֹ וְהוֹצִיאוֹ חוּץ לַפָּלָטִין, שֵׁנִי חֲבָשׁוֹ בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִים, וְנָתַן סְפָרְגִים שֶׁלּוֹ עָלָיו, שְׁלִישִׁי שֶׁהָיָה חָבִיב לוֹ יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי אָמַר אֵינִי עוֹשֶׂה דָּבָר חוּץ מִדַּעְתּוֹ. כָּךְ, אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן (בראשית ג, כד): וַיְגָרֶשׁ אֶת הָאָדָם. נֹחַ (בראשית ז, טז): וַיִּסְגֹּר ה' בַּעֲדוֹ. אַבְרָהָם שֶׁהָיָה חָבִיב עָלָיו יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי, אָמַר מָה אֲנִי עוֹשֶׂה דָּבָר חוּץ מִדַּעְתּוֹ.

It was Rabbi Yehuda, son of Rabbi Simon who made the observation.

This quote from the midrash explains in connection with G-d's questioning the idea of concealing the judgement against Sodom from Avraham, that G-d had a special love (that he was cherished more than appropriate) for Avraham above and beyond others (Adam and Noach are listed as examples of those not loved like Avraham. Thus, Adam was separated and Noach was imprisoned at the time of judgement.). And that because of that special type of love, G-d sought Avraham's opinion in things that G-d would do to the world.

Regarding your association of Moshe Rabbeinu to this special type of merit connected with Avraham, the beginning of the linked midrash explains how this merit from Avraham was passed along to the 70 individuals who descended to Egypt, who ultimately became the 70 Elders who transmitted the teachings of Avraham to Moshe, who explained the Torah in 70 languages.

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    Only the part about Avraham is quoted here, not the comparison to Noach. – DonielF Nov 14 '19 at 1:24
  • The quote dealing with Noach is unbolded. I also didn’t quote the whole section because it wasn’t dealing with the main aspect of the OPs question. But it’s all there. Follow the link. – Yaacov Deane Nov 14 '19 at 4:37
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    Surely you’ve been around long enough to know that all relevant information should be in the post itself rather than in a link? – DonielF Nov 14 '19 at 5:20
  • @DonielF The question is only about where is the source for the comparison between Avraham & Noach where G-d wants to reveal the destruction of Sodom to get Avraham’s reaction & who said it & how this differs with Noach. That exact event & comparison is in my quote. I also answer who said it. The other answers do not do this. Also, in terms of earliest sources, Bereshit Rabbah is the earliest we have. Your comments are simply wrong & the voting here indicates people aren’t reading the answers. – Yaacov Deane Nov 14 '19 at 12:03
  • Surely the burden is on the author to make his post as clear as possible? I’ve read this answer several times now and still can’t figure which part addresses the comparison between Noach and Avraham. (Also, Zohar isn’t earlier than Bereishis Rabbah? Both are Tannaic-based.) – DonielF Nov 14 '19 at 16:42

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