In this week's Parsha, Parshat Noach, we see the following words in Pasuk Zayin: "ויבא נח .. אל התבה מפני מי המבול"
“And Noach came...into the ark because of the waters of the flood.”
Rashi comments, “Even Noach was one of those who had little faith in Hashem: He believed (generally), but he did not believe, that the flood would come. So, he did not enter the ark until the waters forced him.” Rashi then quotes our sages in Perek Vav, Pasuk Tet, who it seems see Noach as a truly righteous man. However, doesn’t Noach’s lack of faith contradict what most of them believe?
Grouping Rashi’s words differently while keeping their order suggests quite a different meaning: "אף נח מקטני אמונה היה מאמין" - “Noach even believed in those who had little faith.” Noach was almost positive that those who had little faith would do Teshuvah, preventing Hashem’s decree of destruction. Since Noach had true faith in the others, "ואינו מאמין שיבא המבול" — “he did not believe that the flood would come.” It was only when the waters really began to rise that he realized his faith in the others was mistaken. Because of this, he had no choice but to retreat into the ark to at least save himself and his family.
By: Tova Bossewitch (9th) and Eliana Bensoussan (9th)