17 Cheshvan: Great Flood Begins (1656)

According the Zohar's teachings, there is a powerful message in the way the Torah describes this event.

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The Great Flood, described in detail in the ”Noah” Torah portion, began ”in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month (1)”. According to the Zohar, there is a powerful message hidden in this number – an allusion to the world of knowledge we live in today:

“In the 6th century of the 6th millennium, the wellsprings of wisdom will open up from above and below, and wisdom will descend to the world, and the world will be perfected in preparation for its elevation in the seventh millennium”. (Zohar, Vayera, part 1, 117)

These prophetic words of the Zohar describe the reality of the present day. According to Kabbalah, water symbolizes wisdom and knowledge. Some 300 years ago, the world witnessed a revolution in spiritual knowledge. The teachings of Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah and Chassidism) became accessible to everyone and spread universally.

Today the Rebbe calls it our duty to spread the Chassidic teachings to all of Israel, because this study as such has a power to end the exile and bring about redemption. These are the “wellsprings of wisdom from above”.

The fact that the industrial revolution, scientific and technological developments that continue to this day, began at about the same time, is not a coincidence. These are “the wellsprings of wisdom from below”.

The Zohar concludes by saying that the purpose of these great revelations is to help us recognize the ultimate sovereignty of the Creator over the whole world. During the time of Geula, all knowledge of the world will point to the underlying unity of the creation, as is stated:

“And the glory of the haShem shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see that the ‘mouth’ of the haShem spoke” (“Yeshayahu”, 40:5).

The Rebbe explains: in the era of Geula, the physical world will not just understand – it will sense (as indicated by the word ”flesh”) that its entire existence has its source in the will of the Creator. And then, instead of hiding its Creator, as in previous eras, the material world itself will become an instrument of His revelation. Not only will haShem be “One”, but we will see the world as one too. (Based on the Rebbe’s talks (see more in “Likutei Sichot”, volume 15, page 42).

From the Rebbe’s explanations:

Parshat Breishit describes the creation of the world. Parshat Noach contains G‑d’s promise that the world will continue to exist forever.

There is, however, a distinct contrast between these two Torah portions. Parshat Breishit describes the world as it exists as a complete and perfect entity, the world as haShem conceived of it and created it. Parshat Noach, in contrast, describes the world after the descent into sin and the state of perfection that can be reached through the service of man who turns to haShem in teshuvah. Through this service, man generates satisfaction and pleasure for haShem, fulfilling His desire “to have a dwelling in the lower worlds”.

Based on the Rebbe’s talks (Shabbos Parshas Noach, 4th Day of MarCheshvan, 5752).

Note (1): according to the approach of Rabbi Eliezer, “the second month” is counted from the beginning of the year. This is the month of Cheshvan, following the month of Tishrei. 

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