This week’s Torah portion, Noach, tells of the great flood, the powerful waters that submerged the world for 40 days and night.
In Song of Songs we read, “Many waters cannot extinguish the love and rivers cannot flood it.” This is talking about the deep, essential love we have for G-d.
What are these “many waters,” that fail to extinguish the inner love? And what are these “rivers,” that fail to flood it?
One explanation is that “many waters” refers to the typical hardships that we incur making a living. The rivers are when these worries and pressures don’t let up, like the strong current of a river.
While these worries and hardships are constant, they can’t extinguish the hidden love found in the depths of our souls.
Our souls, before they entered this world, were in a pristine holy state. What gain is there for the soul to come down here and be involved in this mundane and sometimes troublesome place?
The struggles we contend with help us attain the purpose of our descent into this world. And when we realise that, we start looking at our struggles differently, we begin to see them in a positive light.
Knowing this, you realize, that being that the “many waters” are here for our benefit, they could never extinguish the love we have for G-d, because that is the opposite of their purpose.
By coming down to this world, the soul fulfils G-d’s will, which causes a great elevation in the soul.
Prior to its descent into the world, the soul is righteous. By descending into this turbulent world and doing G-d’s will, it attains the status of a Baal Teshuva (returnee to G-d).
The Talmud says that “in the place where a Baal Teshuva stands, even a complete Tzadik cannot stand,” because through his struggle he attains a level of holiness far greater than that of a Tzadik, so great that the Tzadik isn’t even able to stand there.
With this in mind, we start to take our struggles in stride. We begin to see them as the path to our goals and not as the enemy. It is the struggles that make us stronger and refine us. It is the struggles that bring us closer to Hashem. He put us here specifically to contend with this world and this world is a world of struggles. But when you understand that it is all from Hashem and it is all purposeful, it is no more a struggle. You will embrace it with joy and with a spring in your step, knowing that on the other side of this struggle is the goal you were created to achieve.
The story of the flood is read right after the holidays because the holidays are like heaven, as we celebrate with G-d and enjoy the holiness of the time.
With the holidays behind us, we re-enter the world of chaos. It is now that we need a reminder that the turbulent waters of making a living and dealing with the challenges of life are there to help us accomplish our purpose.
May our efforts to do G-d’s will be successful, and may we usher in the coming of Moshiach now!