By Shalom Olensky
This week in the Torah:
As the waters of the flood begin to rage, G-d instructs Noach and family to enter the ark (“teyvah” in Hebrew). After they enter and the ark is sealed, the verse tells us that the waters raised the ark and the ark rested upon the waters.
The raging waters, are financial worries and other mundane disturbances which threaten to drown a person and keep one from proper devotion to the Almighty. G-d’s advice is “Enter the ark (Teyvah),” which can also be translated as “Enter the word”; i.e. focus oneself into the words of Torah and prayer that one utters. Put one’s energies into them, and that will protect one from the tumultuous waters.
The verse reads that the ark, not only protected them from the flood, it lifted them above it and brought them to rest. What does this symbolize based on the above analogue?
“From darkness comes increased light.” By realizing one’s distance from genuine sacred devotion, one is brought to yearn for the Almighty stronger than if one would be closer to begin with. This love of G-d, caused by distance, is unbridled. This yearning is what makes a penitent greater than the already righteous.
The “waters’ themselves propel “the ark” upwards, achieving in the person a state of “rest”, i.e. a deeper, greater love of G-d.
On the Sabbath, when a Jew has more time to pray and study Torah, one must not be mistaken to think only the full time scholars and saints can properly fulfill Sabbatical devotions. Based on the above, it stands to reason that, on the contrary, those busy with the mundane during the week, have a stronger “force of buoyancy” that can infuse their devotions on the Sabbath with spiritual respite, greater than that of the former.
(Based on Torah Or, Noach)