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Noah: Fixing Mistakes

If the generation of Noah was so corrupt, then why didn’t God just punish the people outright? Why the whole story of Noah building an ark?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

God’s actions are corrective, not punishing.

Noah seems very odd to people, building his ark out in the middle of nowhere, but that is part of the point. God wants people to ask Noah why he needs a boat far from the sea, so Noah could have the opportunity to warn them about God's plan to destroy the world. God hopes they will take this warning to heart and change their behavior. God doesn't want to destroy the world. He wants people to change.

When a friend was 18, he had a screaming fight with his dad and stormed out of the house. It was three months before he cooled down enough to go home. Early one morning, he knocked on his parents' door, and his dad opened it. "I've missed you terribly," his dad said. "I'm so glad you've come home."

God doesn't expect us to be perfect, and He certainly takes no joy in hurting us. He expects us to take responsibility for our mistakes and to change. In this respect, God is a lot like that dad, or maybe the other way around.

When your kids make mistakes, don't be too quick to punish them. Think of ways to help them realize their mistakes and to change.

When you do have to punish your children, it's important to let them know how sad it makes you. You don't want them to think you enjoy your power over them. Hurting the people you love most is something you should do reluctantly, and only because you know you need to do it, for their good.

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