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Parshas Noach

Is He a Mentsch?

The parashah tells us: “These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a man, righteous and pure in his generation.” The Hebrew word for man is “ish,” for which the Yiddish equivalent is “mentsch.” The Torah teaches us that first and foremost, each of us must try to be a mentsch. The word mentsch connotes integrity, respect, kindness – goals toward which we must all strive. The first questions that Jewish parents traditionally ask regarding a potential spouse for their daughter is, “Is he a mentsch? Does he have fine character traits?”