Why do good people suffer while bad people prosper?
That’s a question that’s been asked over and over, throughout the history of the world.
It’s even possible that even Noach had voiced this question. The Torah tells us that he had to wait 500 years before having his first child, after watching everyone else in the world have children at the young age of 100.
This was the man who was the only righteous person in his time. The man remained completely cut off from the falsehood and corruption of the world around him. He surely didn’t deserve this!
One couldn’t blame him for asking the question.
But G-D, of course, had a plan.
Giving Noach children at a normal time in his life would have been disastrous at worst and very troublesome at best. Had they grown up to be wicked, they would have reached the age of a ‘bar onshin’, a person liable for Heavenly punishment, long before the flood. Thus, they would have drowned with the rest of that generation. If they would have turned out righteous, Noach would have had several generations of descendants to consider in his ark building plans. Considering how long it would take him to build one ark, he certainly wouldn’t have fancied the headache of building a fleet of them! In His infinite kindness, G-D timed the arrivals of Noach’s kids to take place within 100 years of the flood to prevent either of these outcomes.
If Noach had indeed asked the question, the flood was G-D’s answer to him.
During World War II, the British ‘treated’ some of their German Jewish refugees to a free trip to Australia, along with other ‘enemy aliens’ (many of them were Nazis). The boat was the cheapest they could find, manned by a crew of the lowest criminals in Brixton Jail. One day, the bored crew thought it would be fun to attack their passengers. The poor Jews, who had lost family members to Hitler, now had to watch their only possessions being carelessly tossed into the ocean.
Unbeknownst to them, a German U-Boat in the area had the ship in its sight. Just before the captain gave the order, he noticed what appeared to be suitcases floating in the water. The luggage was retrieved and opened. Lo and behold, out came piles of books in…German! Clearly the British were transporting a group of POWs somewhere.
And thus, the Jewish refugees arrived safely in Australia, escorted by a German U-Boat that had nearly torpedoed it.
Challenging life situations often make no sense to us human mortals. But in Hashem’s unlimited perception, it’s all part of the Grand Plan for us and the world.
(Idea heard from Rabbi Yissochor Frand. Based on Rashi, Bereishit/Genesis Ch.6, V.9. Story heard from Rabbi YY Rubinstien.)