In Beresheith/Genesis 5:24 it states:

וַיִּתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ חֲנ֖וֹךְ אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וְאֵינֶ֕נּוּ כִּֽי־לָקַ֥ח אֹת֖וֹ אֱלֹהִֽים׃       

Enoch walked with G-d; then he was no more, for G-d took him

According to Genesis 6:9, Noach walked with G-d also

אֵ֚לֶּה תּוֹלְדֹ֣ת נֹ֔חַ נֹ֗חַ אִ֥ישׁ צַדִּ֛יק תָּמִ֥ים הָיָ֖ה בְּדֹֽרֹתָ֑יו אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים הִֽתְהַלֶּךְ־נֹֽחַ׃

This is the line of Noah.—Noah was a righteous man; he was blameless in his age; Noah walked with God.

Seeing what Noach was called to do and knowing that for him to be chosen to do it, had to mean that not only he was the most qualified but just the man for the job. It leads me to ask why was Chanoch taken but not Noach? I inquire not to challenge what is written but to see if anyone else had this thought. Has this ever been discussed? Are there commentaries or articles that speak on this?

As always scriptural references, articles, commentaries, and personal insight are always welcomed. Todah Rabbah.

  • 1
    The most obvious difference is the qualification in regard to Noach that it says, תמים היה בדרתיו. That limiting qualification is not used in regard to Chanoch. Oct 10, 2021 at 1:24

2 Answers 2


Rashi on the verse of Chanoch explains that although he was righteous, he wasn’t so steadfast in his beliefs and actions and was at risk of being swayed away from his righteous path. (Noach on the other hand was obviously strong enough to go against the current of society and not be swayed)

ויתהלך חנוך. צַדִּיק הָיָה וְקַל בְּדַעְתּוֹ לָשׁוּב לְהַרְשִׁיעַ, לְפִיכָךְ מִהֵר הַקָּבָּ"ה וְסִלְּקוֹ וֶהֱמִיתוֹ קֹדֶם זְמַנּוֹ, וְזֶהוּ שֶׁשִּׁנָּה הַכָּתוּב בְּמִיתָתוֹ לִכְתֹּב וְאֵינֶנּוּ בָּעוֹלָם – לְמַלְּאוֹת שְׁנוֹתָיו ‏(בראשית רבה): ויתהלך חנוך

AND ENOCH WALKED [WITH GOD] — He was a righteous man, but his mind was easily induced) to turn from his righteous ways and to become wicked. The Holy One, blessed be He, therefore took him away quickly and made him die before his full time. This is why Scripture uses a different expression when referring to his death by writing ואיננו “and he was not”, meaning, he was not in the world to complete the number of his years.

  • So according to Rashi, Noach was more righteous than Chanoch?
    – יהודה
    Oct 10, 2021 at 3:19
  • He doesn’t say explicitly that Noach was greater, he just says that Enoch was not steadfast. The inference being that Noach was greater in that regard and therefore didn’t have to be taken
    – Chatzkel
    Oct 10, 2021 at 3:30
  • @chaztkel That's interesting because I thought being taken would be considered a blessing
    – יהודה
    Oct 10, 2021 at 15:09
  • Rashi clearly is saying that he was taken to avoid being swayed away from righteousness. (However, I do recall seeing elsewhere that Enoch went up to heaven alive like Elijah, insinuating perhaps that it was a benefit).
    – Chatzkel
    Oct 10, 2021 at 15:16
  • Let me rephrase what I'm saying. I would think that being taken is a High Honor (higher than just experiencing the typical death as a man), which is why so few experienced it (I recall reading somewhere that Serach bat Asher was taken as well). If that is the case why was Chanoach so unique in the sense that he was given that high honor to avoid him being corrupted in comparison to Noach? Avraham was not given that honor and he had to prove himself for the covenant.
    – יהודה
    Oct 10, 2021 at 16:46

Building on @chatzkel's answer it is worth noting Bereishis Rabbah 25:1:

וַיִּתְהַלֵּךְ חֲנוֹךְ אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים וְאֵינֶנּוּ כִּי לָקַח אֹתוֹ אֱלֹהִים (בראשית ה, כד), אָמַר רַבִּי חָמָא בַּר הוֹשַׁעְיָא אֵינוֹ נִכְתַּב בְּתוֹךְ טִימוֹסָן שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים אֶלָּא בְּתוֹךְ טִימוֹסָן שֶׁל רְשָׁעִים. אָמַר רַבִּי אַיְבוּ חֲנוֹךְ חָנֵף הָיָה, פְּעָמִים צַדִּיק פְּעָמִים רָשָׁע, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַד שֶׁהוּא בְּצִדְקוֹ אֲסַלְּקֶנּוּ.

Chanoch walked with G-d; then he was no more, for G-d took him (Bereishis 5:24) - Rabbi Chamah son of Hoshaya said, he wasn't written in the list of the righteous but in the list of the wicked. Rabbi Ayvu said, he was insincere; there were times when he was righteous and times when he was wicked. Said the Holy One, Blessed is He, "Whilst he is still righteous (i.e., before he becomes full on wicked / lapses into frequent sin), I will take him away."

Therefore, his inherent failings meant that arguably he wasn't deemed the right person for the job and Noach was more fitting.

And even if we raise the argument that Noach had his failings too (I can provide source should you want them), it is worth noting the Midrash later on in Bereishis Rabbah 26:6 that states:

אָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בַּר פַּפָּא אֲפִלּוּ נֹחַ שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּיֵּר מֵהֶם לֹא שֶׁהָיָה כְּדַי, אֶלָּא שֶׁצָּפָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁמּשֶׁה עָתִיד לַעֲמֹד מִמֶּנּוּ

Rabbi Chaninah the son of Pappa said, even though Noach remained / survived - it was not because he was worthy, but rather because G-d saw that Moshe would issue from in the future.

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