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The Gemara in Sanhedrin 108a at the bottom of the page says, the generation of the flood asked Noach, if the mabul is imminent, why hadnt it occured already, ie what was holding it back? Noach answered that Hashem is waiting to take away his bird.

Rashi explains (according to the way I understand it) that Hashem was waiting for Mesushelach to die, so that he should not perish in the flood with everyone else.

My question is why couldn't Hashem have brought the Mabul instantly, and simply included Mesushelach in the Teivah with Noach and his family?

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As we see from the discussion of why Avraham stopped praying for S'dom with ten people, Had Mesushelach been alive, there would have been ten people (Noach, his 3 sons, their wives, Mesushelach, and Hashem) to be counted. Thus, the flood would not have started until after Mesushelach died. Once he died, the total number dropped below the critical figure and the flood punishment was able to occur. Indeed, Hashem delayed the start of the flood for the seven days of mourning for Mesushelach in his honor.

  • The problem is that Rashi indicates that he would have perished in the flood had the flood occurred during his lifetime. Your answer directly contradicts that. – Yehuda Nov 19 at 10:44
  • @Yehuda No. Rashi says that Mesushelach was destined to die before the flood so as not to be judged among the sinners of that generation. The point is that since he would have been the tenth and was not to die in the flood, he prevented the flood from coming. – sabbahillel Nov 19 at 12:22
  • Very interesting point, assuming the "rule of 10 Tzadikkim saving it all" applies everywhere. Do you have a source for this idea? – Al Berko Nov 19 at 17:06
  • This is what was said by Rashi, Rav Hirsch and others discussing why Avraham stopped at ten. Rashi there says that is why Hashem waited until Mesushelach died. @AlBerko – sabbahillel Nov 19 at 22:29

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