Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Quick Vort
Parshas Noach: Vilna Gaon - The Animals Did Not Deserve To Die

"Vayimach Es Kol HaYikum MeiAl Pnei HaAdama MeiAdam Ad Beheima." (Parshas Noach, 7:23)  In the Mabul everything was wiped out starting with the people, and only after that, the animals according to the Gemara (Brachos 61a).  Why did the animals dies?  

The Vilna Gaon says that it wasn't because of their sins.  Although even the animals behaved in a corrupt way, they were not guilty since it was the influence of man.  "If the animals really deserved to die," says the Gra, "they should have died first, since when it comes to punishment, we start with the least important one first."

The reason why the animals died was that the animals were only created to complete the world for mankind, who is the purpose of creation.  The Mabul was meant to punish man for his aveiros.  However, once there was no mankind left, the animal lost their purpose, and therefore, they died as well.