After Noach survived the flood, the Torah tells us that he planted a vine and drank wine. Chazal are critical of him; instead of planting a vine, he should have planted grain.
What is behind this criticism? What did Noach do wrong?
Rabbi Isaac Bernstein used to quote a wonderful insight of Rav Simcha Wasserman. Wine is used to recall the past. As our Sages say: “Zachreihu al hayayin” – “Remember it with wine”. Noach wanted to sit down and drink and reminisce on the past and nostalgically recall days gone by of the pre-flood world of yesteryear.
The criticism of Noach is that he should have focussed on the future and not longed for the past. Time only travels in one direction – it is forward facing. We do not forget the past, rather we use it to build for the future.
Our school was built out of the ashes of the holocaust. Great people had the strength of character to build on the past of pre-war Europe and transform it to a post-war reality. Klal Yisroel have a remarkable history but our destiny is in the future.
Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos,
Rabbi J Golker