Words are powerful. In Genesis, chapter one, God creates through words: “God said, ‘Let there be light!’—and there was light. . . . God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters,’. . . . God now said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image,’ ” (Genesis 1:3, 6, 26).
The wording of the verse gives rise to this debate. The text states that “Noah was a righteous man,” but immediately follows with the phrase “in his generation, he was above reproach. . . ” All of us, including the ancient Rabbis, are left to wonder if Noah is exceptional or not, if his righteousness would be universally righteous or simply righteous in his time.