In this regard, Noah is more than a man. He is a stand-in, a symbol, for the redeemability of human beings.
As Rabbi Itzhak Levy observes, "Noah represents the tenth generation from Adam. Ten is the number of righteousness, [later] evidenced by the Ten Commandments that God gave to humans." Moreover, "God is passing judgment on the earth in the tenth generation. Noah was six hundred years old; six is the number of man. six times ten--the number of righteousness--equals six hundred, the number of judgment upon man..."
Which is to say, Noah is the archetype for all of us who would strive to live righteously in a world more acquainted with corruption and violence (Gen. ## ##) than altruism and unconditional love.
And here he lies, butt-naked, acting the fool.
We should be grateful. We are fortunate that the Torah does not often repay its heroes kindly--with whitewashed biographies that casually omit their weakness and blunders. There is no doubt that Noah was a righteous man. But stepping off the ark, he stumbled. And, in his tender moment of over-exposure, we gain a cautionary tale. After catastrophe, we are to remain in step with righteousness, rather than overindulge in the immediacy of returning to the old-normal.
Noah is a symbol for the redeemability of human beings.
And here he lies, butt-naked,
acting the fool.