Are there any sources that state that the lengthy life span that Noah was privileged with would no longer be given to later generations?

To elaborate, just as there are sources that state that prophecy ceased from a certain point (i.e. the destruction of the Temple or the death of Malachi etc.), are there, likewise, any sources that state that surviving beyond a "realistic" life span would no longer be possible after a certain era (or event etc.)?


The Ohr HaChaim has a whole piece on it.

It writes in Parshas Vayechi 47:29

וַיִּקְרְב֣וּ יְמֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֮ לָמוּת֒ וַיִּקְרָ֣א ׀ לִבְנ֣וֹ לְיוֹסֵ֗ף וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לוֹ֙ אִם־נָ֨א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ שִֽׂים־נָ֥א יָדְךָ֖ תַּ֣חַת יְרֵכִ֑י וְעָשִׂ֤יתָ עִמָּדִי֙ חֶ֣סֶד וֶאֱמֶ֔ת אַל־נָ֥א תִקְבְּרֵ֖נִי בְּמִצְרָֽיִם׃

And when the time approached for Israel to die, he summoned his son Joseph and said to him, “Do me this favor, place your hand under my thigh as a pledge of your steadfast loyalty: please do not bury me in Egypt. (Sefaria translation)

The Ohr HaChaim there brings the Arizal quoting from his sefer Koheles Yaakov that souls are split into many ניצוצות - sparks of holiness, each pre-determined for every individual, and it is this that effects the longevity of a person's life. When we perform mitzvos those sparks are further refined thereby strengthening that individual's form. Conversely, the opposite is true when a person chooses to not engage with Hashem's mitzvos. (Interestingly, the Ohr HaChaim explains this is the reasoning behind the Gemara in Berachos 57b which says sleep accounts for 1/60th of death, as when one sleeps one of these sparks leaves the body).

He brings a mashal (a parable) to illustrate this idea and begins to shed light on why after the flood mankind's lifespan was reduced:

There was a king who distributed gems to a number of craftsmen, requesting that they make beautiful, ornate pieces of jewellery by a certain deadline. He provided a different number of gems to each craftsman dependent on their skill and what he expected them to achieve. When they were asked to present their final work, much to the king's chagrin, most of the craftsmen had produced inferior goods, and many had actually ruined the gems in the process. In his anger he killed the craftsmen and told their children not to repeat the same mistakes. The king then issued new gems to the second generation craftsmen but only provided 1/10 the amount of gems that he had given to their forebears. The king believed that by making the task less onerous it would result in a better end product. Thus, the gemstones are like the souls that Hashem distributes, and the condition of the soul improves proportionally to the performance of mitzvos and abstention from sins by the personality it inhabits.

As a result:

ולראשונים התחיל ה' להרבות להם המלאכה ונתן להם נשמות גדולות שבכל אחת יש בה חלקים רבים, והגביל לכל חלק מלאכתו יום א'. והוא סוד (שמות ט"ז ד') דבר יום ביומו כי הענף יקרא יום ונתן להם ימים רבים כנגד חלקים אשר בנפשותם, לאדם נתן יותר משלש מאות אלף חלקים שהם מספר ימיו תתק"ל וכשיעור זה הן חסר הן יתר לדורות ההמה, וכשקלקלו ופרץ ה' בהם פרץ ואת בניהם הקים תחתם נח ובניו משם והלאה הקיל ה' מתת רוב הטורח ההוא כדי שתהיה הפקידה קרובה ויתחלחלו האנשים מעת הפקידה, וכשראה כי לא יכלו לעמוד היה מחסר והולך להקל, והן היום בעונותינו ימי שנותינו בהם ע' שנה שהם בקירוב חמשה ועשרים אלף יום ורבים מבני עמינו לא עמדו בעבודה קלה כזו

In other words, the earlier generations were set a much weightier tasks which required a lot more 'sparks' to help them achieve their spiritual goals. However, after the failings of the generation of Noach, Hashem had to provide less days i.e. lessen the human lifespan, in order to help us achieve what is expected of us, resulting in a downgrading of lifespan averaging 70 years.

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