B”H Noach 5776
Noah’s Ark and Noah’s Flood are part of most people’s Biblical repertoire. There is however an element that plays a key role in this cataclysmic event that is not so well known and is the only part of the story that we still see and experience.
“G-d said: “This is the sign of the (confirmation of the) covenant, which I am placing between Me and you, and every living soul that is with you, for all generations. I have placed my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be a sign of a covenant between Myself and the earth. Then, when I (will consider) causing clouds (of darkness and destruction) to come upon the earth, the rainbow will appear in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you, and every living creature amongst all flesh, and the water will no longer become a flood to destroy all flesh.” “The rainbow will be in the cloud, and I will look at it to remember the everlasting covenant between G-d (attribute of judgment) and every living creature among all flesh, which is on the earth.” (Ch 9 v12-16). The Rainbow is the sign of G-d’s commitment never to flood the world again.
The Rainbow is really an intangible object that is a mere refraction of light through its cloud’s prism and lasts for a fleeting few moments. It is so temporary and ephemeral that the reference to unrealistic expectations is “the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”. Why did G-d choose the rainbow for such a significant covenant of assurance?
The multi colors of the rainbow are the reflection of sunlight in clouds where the tiny droplets of moisture form a prism of beautiful pastels of red, green, blue, yellow etc. in different degrees of brightness. On a bright sunny day there are no rainbows. It is precisely though the clouds that conceal the light of the sun and bring rain that we are able to see exquisite illumination even more beautiful than the bright direct rays of the sun.
It is only through illuminating the darkness and permeating it with light that we achieve a more beautiful vision than without it.
So too was the objective of the flood to eradicate the darkness and transform it into holy light. The great deluge was not meant to annihilate but to purify and cleanse. Just like a Mikvah, whose 40 measures of water purify and sanctify those who immerse in it, so too did the 40 days of rain immerse the entire world under its purifying waters.
A Baal Teshuvah who returns to his holy source after experiencing darkness, separation and impurity creates a more powerful light/energy than the Tzaddik (righteous one) who never erred.
Mar Cheshvan, the month in which the flood began (17th of Cheshvan) and finished (27th of Cheshvan the following year) is completely without any holidays or celebrations. Through utilizing the great light that we accumulated during the month of Tishrei to imbue Cheshvan with practical holiness and goodness we are able to evolve to an even higher level than Tishrei.
The ultimate purpose of creation fulfills itself in this lowliest, darkest, materialistic world where, through dominating the animal instincts and transforming them to the service of G-d, we actualize G-d’s purpose.
Hence the Rainbow.
Have a great Shabbos, a good Chodesh and wonderful week,
Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar