Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Noach
To dedicate this lesson

Flooding lessons

In books of Chassidus (Tzidkat Hatzadik 107, Torah Ohr Parshat Noach) the Mabul is described as one great 'Mikve' (ritual bath).


Rabbi Yonatan Kirsch

Cheshvan 7 5782
Every year we read in Parshat Noach of the worldwide Mabbul- flood. The world had sinned in a most extreme way and Hashem decided that the world needed to be destroyed and then renewed. Noah, his family, and many of the animal species, were saved in the ark during the flood.

Does the punishment of a flood relate to the specific sins that was committed by the generation of the Mabbul? Does the saving of Noah and his family-- along with the animal species-- teach us lessons about the transgressions of the world?

In this Dvar Torah, I would like to show how this punishment is not a typical Divine act of the wicked being punished, ie, G-d taking revenge, but is actually a "tikkun", an essential repair to correct the actions that they deserved. I will show how the story of the Ark is a more than just saving the world, but also instructive on how we should behave in order to be worthy of not having another Mabbul.

The Punishment
The reason Hashem chose to destroy the world using water is no coincidence. The Pasuk (Bereshit 6:7) to describe what will happen uses the word -"Michuy ''- wiping off. Rashi explains that this is because the man was created with soil from the earth together with water; therefore, by washing man off with water is a way to return him to the wet soil. It seems that with this action Hashem is returning the world back to its ancient state of matter.

In books of Chassidus (Tzidkat Hatzadik 107, Torah Ohr Parshat Noach) the Mabul is described as one great 'Mikve' (ritual bath).

The Sefer Hachinuch (Mitzvah 173) points out that the underlying concept of a Mikveh is to have a person return to the beginning of the world, when it was only water. According to this, we can now understand how during the Mabbul, the world was now its original existence. This is before it was formed and shaped, and before the occurrence of the transgressions of its inhabitants.

The Ark

This seems to teach us that in the Ark, Noah was taught an important lesson, namely now is the time for spirituality. We must know how to SEPARATE the higher levels of humanity from the lower sides. There are separate levels to life.

The Ramban (6:19) explains that in fact, the dimensions of the ark did not contain enough space for all species to live, from a physical dimension. He explains that a miracle occurred that allowed them all to fit in. This can teach us that inside the ark everyone puts their "Gashmiyut" (physical side) aside. This is a perfect reaction to the falling and the sinning of the world that took place. The physical nature of the world knew no bounds and limitations were non-existent.

So the punishment and the saving of the word were no coincidence. Here, Hashem teaches us that the world and the sinners need to return and be renewed to their original status, while the righteous ones must maintain the correct proportion between the physical and spiritual side of life.

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