In Genesis (5:24) it states:

וַיִּתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ חֲנ֖וֹךְ אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וְאֵינֶ֕נּוּ כִּֽי־לָקַ֥ח אֹת֖וֹ אֱלֹהִֽים׃ {ס}         Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, for God took him.

Rashi explains:

ויתהלך חנוך. צַדִּיק הָיָה וְקַל בְּדַעְתּוֹ לָשׁוּב לְהַרְשִׁיעַ, לְפִיכָךְ מִהֵר הַקָּבָּ"ה וְסִלְּקוֹ וֶהֱמִיתוֹ emphasized textקֹדֶם 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."

But the general rule is to judge mankind based on their present actions only and not the future. Yishmael was judged "באשר הוא שם" -

Rashi, Genesis 21:17

באשר הוא שם. לְפִי מַעֲשִׂים שֶׁהוּא עוֹשֶׂה עַכְשָׁו הוּא נִדּוֹן, וְלֹא לְפִי מַה שֶּׁהוּא עָתִיד לַעֲשׂוֹת (ראש השנה ט"ז), לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת מְקַטְרְגִים וְאוֹמְרִים רִבּוֹנו שֶׁל עוֹלָם, מִי שֶׁעָתִיד זַרְעוֹ לְהָמִית בָּנֶיךָ בַּצָּמָא אַתָּה מַעֲלֶה לוֹ בְּאֵר, וְהוּא מְשִׁיבָם עַכְשָׁו מַה הוּא, צַדִּיק אוֹ רָשָׁע? אָמְרוּ לוֹ צַדִּיק, אָמַר לָהֶם לְפִי מַעֲשָׂיו שֶׁל עַכְשָׁו אֲנִי דָנוֹ, וְזֶהוּ בַּאֲשֶׁר הוּא שָׁם.

באשר הוא שם WHERE HE IS — According to the actions he is now doing shall he be judged and not according to what he may do in future. Because the ministering angels laid information against him, saying, “Master of the Universe, for him whose descendants will at one time kill your children with thirst will You provide a well?” He asked them, “What is he now, righteous or wicked?” They replied to him, “Righteous.” He said to them, “According to his present deeds will I judge him.”

Here is the rule - rosh hashanah 16b

וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: אֵין דָּנִין אֶת הָאָדָם אֶלָּא לְפִי מַעֲשָׂיו שֶׁל אוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כִּי שָׁמַע אֱלֹהִים אֶל קוֹל הַנַּעַר בַּאֲשֶׁר הוּא שָׁם״. And Rabbi Yitzḥak said: A man is judged only according to his deeds at the time of his judgment, and not according to his future deeds, as it is stated with regard to Ishmael: “For God has heard the voice of the lad where he is” (Genesis 21:17). Although Ishmael and his descendants would act wickedly in the future, his prayer was heard and answered because he was innocent at the time.

Why was Chanoch's future looked at when God decided his fate? He may have been predisposed to doing future evil but he had not at the time of his departure. Is there a distinction between meting out present punishment (Yishmael) vs 'penalizing' someone in the present for the sake of greater, ultimate good (Chanoch's early departure NOT being the stuff of an adjudication of Evil, but more of a reward)?

  • 2
    What about Ben Sorrer Umoreh? He’s punished for his future, yet Yishmael wasn’t? So the answer given is that by Yishmael, his future wasn’t him himself doing evil acts but rather his descendants. So he’s not punished for that. But by the Ben sorrer umoreh, in the future he himself would be the sinner, and hence we prematurely kill him. So too I would assume in this case of Chanoch- he himself would be the righteous person in the future, thus we can kill him now. Jan 2 at 13:56
  • 4
    He wasn't judged, he was rescued.
    – shmosel
    Jan 2 at 15:32
  • aren't there people who die once it is established that their descendants won't convert to Judaism? If one can be punished because of a behavior generations later, then judging by events in his own lifetime seems reasonable... sefaria.org/…
    – rosends
    Jan 2 at 18:08
  • Also the Mitzri Moshe killed
    – zunior
    Jan 2 at 22:30


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