Noah's (or Noach's) story is told in the first book of the Torah, Genesis. The parsha (weekly reading) that is named for Noah, Noach, is the second one, right after Bereshit, the story of creation. Noah's story is probably one of the most famous Torah (Bible) stories. It is related that G-d destroyed all life on Earth in a flood, Noah and his family were the only human beings to survive.
Account in "Genesis"
Noah was the son of Lamech. His name means "rest" because it was believed that he would bring rest from struggling to obtain food from the ground, which G-d had cursed after expelling Adam and Eve from Eden.
When Noah was five hundred years old he had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth.
When Noah was six hundred years old G-d decided that people were too evil and had to be destroyed in a flood. However, Noah, because he was a righteous man, was to be spared. He was instructed to build an ark in which he and his family and males and females of every kind of animals would survive.
After the flood, G-d instructed Noah that, from that point on, he and his descendants were permitted to eat meat but they could not eat meat with life (that is to say, blood) in it. Noah was told that all animals would fear man and that all animals would be for the use of man.
Noah became the first person to till the soil, the first to cultivate a vineyard and to drink wine.
According to the Torah, Noah died when he was nine hundred and fifty years old. He is the last of the extremely long lived figures in the Tanakh, Moses only lived to be one hundred and twenty years old and after his time people in the Tanakh are not recorded as living longer than one hundred years.
Was Noah a righteous man?
Whether or not Noah was truly righteous has been a topic of debate amongst rabbis for centuries. According to the account in Genesis, Noah was the most righteous man of his time, however, all of the other people of his time were truly wicked.
In his defence, it has been suggested that the reason Noah took one hundred and twenty years to build the ark was in order to give a warning to evil-doers and give them time to change their ways.
However, the Torah does not record that Noah prayed for those who would be drowned in the flood, as Abraham prayed for those who would be killed in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Furthermore, there are elements recorded in the story, such as Noah's drunkenness and his cursing of his son, Ham, that do not present him in a good light.