Thursday, October 15, 2015

“And the ark came to rest in the seventh month”


From Likutey Halakhos, Shabbos 7:69
As found in Chumash im Likutey Halakhos: Bereishis, pp. 77-78
Translated by Dovid Sears

All this is hinted in the Zohar Chadash regarding Noah’s Ark.  It is written there (Parshas Noach, 38b-39a) that Noah failed to supplicate G-d on behalf of his generation, but after he emerged from the Ark, and saw a destroyed world, he began to weep over it. The Holy One retorted, “Foolish shepherd! Now you speak, and not earlier?” Study what is written there concerning the superior level of Moshe, who sacrificed himself for the Jewish people and saved them.

[The Zohar Chadash] explains why [Noah] did not entreat G-d’s mercy for the sake of his generation: he didn’t think that even he would be spared. [He thought in his heart, “Would that I succeed in beseeching mercy for myself and be saved—all the more so if I were to succeed in praying for others.”] It describes at length how the Blessed One wanted him to entreat mercy for Israel, no matter how debased they were. See what is written on the verse, “ ‘And he sent forth the raven’ (Genesis 8:7)—This is David who constantly cried out [to G-d] like a raven…” And also what is written on the verse, “And he sent forth the dove… until it did not return again.”

The entire deficiency of Noah and its correction concerns the need to be expert in both the ups and downs of life [as discussed in Likutey Moharan I, 6]; he was not expert in this “halakhah” of the ways of teshuvah, like Moses and the great tzaddikim who brought forth the ways of teshuvah with such wondrous expertise. Although Noah was a whole-hearted tzaddik (“tzaddik tamim”)—he did not realize that it was possible to go out and to lower himself and gaze upon such evil people; to get involved with them; to find in them some degree of merit, and to pray on their behalf, and to arouse within them some good point. [By contrast,] this is what Moses and the great tzaddikim who came after him endeavored to accomplish with strenuous effort.

All this is included in the paradigm of “expertise in ascent and descent” [of which Rebbe Nachman speaks in the above-mentioned lesson].  Therefore, he assumed that at best he could only save himself; for he did not realize the extent of G-d’s mercies, how far they reach. Therefore, he was compelled to enter the Ark and conceal himself there to be saved. For Noah’s Ark was built with the most lofty wisdom and holiness; profound intentions (kavannos) informed its height and length and width, as well as its entire construction, as the Torah describes the details of its construction.

This alludes to teshuvah, in which we engage on Yom Kippur. As the holy Zohar states (Tikkun 21, 54b), “Noah’s Ark—this is Yom Kippur.” And so it states there, “”And the Ark came to rest in the seventh month…” (Genesis 8:4)—this is Tishrei.” Similarly, it is explained in many holy books that Noah’s Ark also alludes to the speech and words of the prayers and supplications of Israel.

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