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(5747) Explanation of the words of the Midrash that the Flood waters' aspect was - "praise of G-d" (Ber. Rab. 5:1) The difference between the water at "the beginning of the creation of the world (Ber. Rab. ibid) and the Flood waters


The Midrash states: “From the beginning of the creation of the world praise to Hashem came only through water” and after the rebellion of the Generation of the Flood (Dor HaMabul), Hashem said “let these leave, and let those stand who previously were instated as it is written:  “And the rain was upon the earth for forty days and forty nights(7:12)”.

According to this, it is understood that the condition of the world while it was covered by the Flood waters was similar to the Beginning of Creation” “where the world was completely ‘water within water’ ” For this was a great level -  for the world praised Hashem ( i.e. the “praise to HaShem came specifically through water)

At first glance, this requires explanation: How does this aspect of the flood reconcile with the simple meaning that the flood came to “destroy mankind”? 

Rashi explains: “When He brought them the rains down, He brought them down with mercy, so that if they would repent, they would be rains of blessing. When they did not repent, they became a flood. — Midrash Hane’elam, Zohar Chadash 28a” – Thus the waters first  came down with “mercy”  that they should be “rains of blessing”. However, this was only at the beginning and conditional: - if the Dor HaMabul repented and did Tshuvah ( then the waters would not destroy the earth, but would be “rains of blessing”. Since they did not repent  (and do Tshuvah) the waters were not “rains of blessing” but a flood

However according to the Midrash, even physically, when the Flood waters were deluging and covering the world there was in this a positive aspect.

The explanation of the Alter Rebbe is also known (Torah Ohr beg. of parshah), that the flood waters came to not only punish the Dor HaMabul but also to “purify the earth” like the purification that comes through immersing in a Mikvah and that is why rains fell for forty days equaling the forty  Seah of the Mikvah ( Note: a Mikvah must a contain a volume of water equaling at least forty Seah where one seah is ~14.3 litres of water).

 However, even according to this explanation, the effect of the Flood Waters – purification of the world – was connected with sins of the Dor HaMabul, who bought defilement to the world, and through the Flood the world was purified from this defilement. 

But according to the Midrash, that the condition of the world while covered with the flood waters was similar to the condition of the world at Creation, where “the  whole world was water within water” – the flood waters effected not only the negation and removal of impurity,  but also a positive aspect which was essentially good and holy -   And like the condition of the world in beginning of Creation ( when the “whole world was water within water”), where there was no connection any aspect of sin ( not even purification from sin ) for then there was no existence of sin in the world, and its only function was only “praise to Hashem” 

2. One could say, that in the words of this Midrash there is hinted a foundational and general aspect in relation to Torah. - To preface:

There is a well known statement of the Sages (Chazal) that the Torah is of the things that “preceded the world” as it says “The Torah preceded the world by 2,000 years” . Thus although a “verse cannot depart from its plain meaning." (ein mikra yotze midei peshuto (Talmud Shabbat 63a; Yev. 11b, 24a)  and the simple meaning  of Torah is the way its taught specifically in this physical world - nevertheless “Torah preceded the world”, for in every word of Torah there is (also) an inner and spiritual meaning, according to the way Torah is learned in the supernal, spiritual worlds  (which are completely above physicality).

And it’s understood, that this generalization applies not only to the commandments of Torah but also to the stories. For although each story occurred simply according to way it is told in the Torah, nevertheless, since the Torah preceded the world, one must say that the stories (of Torah) also contain within them a spiritual concept, in conjunction to the existence of Torah in the supernal worlds.

[ And moreover – (this is) like the famous saying that “The Torah essentially speaks to the supernal worlds, and is hinted only afterwards to the lower worlds” (in other words:  Not only are words of Torah able to also be explained according to their spiritual meaning ( the way Torah is in the higher worlds) but conversely: The source and beginning of Torah is in the “supernal worlds” ( as it states “

 “I (Torah) was daily His delight” (Mishlei 8:30) and as Chazal state “That hidden treasure, which has been hidden by You ( for nine hundred and seventy-four generations before the world was created.'" (Shabbat 88b)) etc. 

From there it “descended” and transformed to the physical ( as it states: From

the heavens I spoke to you” (Shemot 20:19), From the heavens you heard His voice etc). Thus, essentially Torah speaks supernally and spiritually, but when it “descends” to this world, it can be explained with a simple explanation corresponding to this “lower” world.

We can learn an additional concept: 

Since by Hashem  "No evil sojourns with You,"(Psalms 5:5) one must say that also those aspects of Torah that, according to their simple explanation (“ in the lower world”) are  undesirable ( such as misdeeds, punishments etc.) Yet in the Torahas it is in the supernal worlds ( where it is impossible for evil to reside), these selfsame events are understood as being entirely holy and good.

And to explain from the words of Rambam that: “There is no difference between  … “Timnah was a concubine” and “I am the L-rd your G-d “ and “ Shema Yisroel “ for everything is from Hashem and the whole is G-d’s Torah, complete, pure holy, and true”.

Even though the simple meaning of these words ( “Timnah was a concubine”) depicts a woman at a complete nadir ( so much so that her birth occurred through transgression of the Seven Noachide commandments) - the complete opposite of the holiness of “I am the L-rd your G-d “ - Nevertheless this does not affect the holiness of these words the way they are written in the Torah, such as there is no difference at all between the holiness of those words (Timnah)  and the holiness of those words “I am the L-rd your G-d “, for “The whole is G-d’s Torah, complete, pure holy, and true”. For the subject is not the existence of “Timna” per se but rather the discussion in Torah concerning her and this discussion is “complete, pure holy, and true”.

And how much more so is this according to the way the Torah is in the supernal worlds, for there the concept of “Timnah was a concubine”, from the onset is only a spiritual concept ocuuring in a world that is completely holy,( because there, "No evil sojourns with You"),

3. This foundation is also explained through a story , which seemingly is confusing, concerning the reading (chanting) of the “verses of rebuke” ( in Parshat  Tavo), by the Alter Rebbe:

It is told: The Alter Rebbe used to read (chant) the Torah himself. Once the Alter Rebbe wasn’t in Liozna for Shabbat Parshat Tavo , and the Mitteler Rebbe – (his son) who was a youth before Bar Mitzvah age, heard the Kriah (Torah reading) from another person. The anguish ("Agmat nefesh") from the curses in the Torah brought him so much heartache that on Yom Kippur, The Alter Rebbe was doubtful whether he would be able to fast. When they asked the Mitteler Rebbe, “Every year we read this Parsha”? (i.e. what was different this year), He answered:  “When father reads – “one does not hear any curses” . 

Seemingly this requires explanation: when the Alter Rebbe read the Torah, - with complete exactness in all the words, and the letters with the vowels and catenations etc, - certainly the subject of the Reading in its simple meaning was heard ( in conjunction with the maxim that “no verse cannot depart from its plain meaning."). What, therefore is the explanation of the Mitteler Rebbe that “When father reads one does not hear any curses” ? 

The explanation, according to the above, is: the concept of curses in simple meaning is only according to the way the concept is learned below in the world of plain meaning (Pshat). However according to the way the “Torah speaks in the supernal world”, in a world that is completely holy with no connection to the existence of evil (and therefore no connection also to the punishment of evil) – then even those concepts (curses) are essentially only holiness and blessing.

[And according to the explanation of the Alter Rebbe concerning the Curses in Parshat Bichukotai , that “according to the truth they are only blessings”.  The Tzemach Tzedek brings an example to this from a story in Talmud: The Rashbi ( Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai ), once sent his son to the Tannaim (sages) , who happened to be in his area ,that they should bless him. However they blessed him in a “language (that appeared to be a) of curse”, and his son was very pained from this. When he repeatedthe words of the Tanaim before his father , the Rashbi told him that , “these were all blessings” 

Therefore when the Alter Rebbe read the Torah, what (the Mitteler Rebbe ) heard was the explanation of the words according to way “ the Torah speaks in the supernal worlds” for there (even) the explanation of the Verses of Rebuke is from its source, a concept which is completely good and blessing. 

This is further proven (sweetened) according to the Alter Rebbe’s explanation of the expression “Reading  the Torah” (Koreh BaTorah) -  that through one’s dealing with Torah, one (man) calls to Hashem to come to him , as it were, like a person who calls to his friend to come to him, or like a young son who calls to his father to come to him in togetherness ( Tzavta Chada).

And also in our case, through the Alter Rebbe’s reading of the Torah, he called and drew down the Torah the way it is in the supernal worlds, by Hashem (because there, "No evil sojourns with You", as above).

4. Accordingly, this is explanation of the Midrash, concerning the Flood:

That the flood came to destroy the Dor HaMabul and also to purify the world from the impurity of the sins of the Dor HaMabul, is only according to the way the concept (Flood) is in this world and according to the plain meaning. However since the concept of the Flood is explained in the Torah- one must say that the concept of the Flood in all its details exist also in the Torah as it is in the “supernal worlds”, in a “world “ that has no connection to any aspect of evil or sin

And this is what the Midrash is telling us, that the existence of the flood waters on earth is (also) an aspect that is completely holy – similar to the “ beginning of Creation of the world”  where the “whole world was water within water” for “ there was no praise for HaShem except from the water”.

One can say that this is the inner aspect of the explanation of the Alter Rebbe that the waters of the Flood were similar to the waters of the Mikvah - for we find that there is a concept of immersing (tevilah) in the Mikvah, just to bring additional holiness, (and not to purify from defilement) [like the immersing of the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, that after his first Tevilah he had become purified from any sort of defilement and they ( the other immersions) were just to add holiness, to ascend in levels of holiness, itself).

One can thus say, that which the waters of the Flood are similar to a Mikvah , that the Flood came to purify the world from the defilement of the sins of the Dor HaMabul, is only according to the way the concept of the Flood descended from the supernal worlds and is found in the “lower worlds”. But its aspect in the  the “supernal worlds” ( in a world which is completely holy) , is that of Tevilah, ascending from one level to an even higher level.

A simple example in man’s life, also for those who are not Jewish, in this physical and course world is: , The love of a father to a son - is true and strong in the heart of a father, and is completely and utterly love and good. Yet when the son misbehaves - this very love can cause punishment of the son with a rod. And as   much as the love for the son grows in the fathers heart so too grows the punishment of the son. Until it says “ if a person spares the rod he hates his son” (Note: please refer to Chassidic discourses for a further explanation).


t’s not true explanation, the explanation that was said regarding the flood waters, is also related/ connected to the time we read Parshas Noach, beginning of month of cheshavan

, which is mar cheshvon. Tishrei, which is filled with Yomim Tovim is similar to the advantage flood waters of the supernal world, where a person is sunk and toivels, and is batal in aspects of good and holiness, until he forgets this physical world, and since his thoughts are only spiritual, even his physical is spiritual

And when we go from tishrei to cheshvon we go through the completion to teach us the purpose of the flood of chodesh tishrei is a condition of dry land which comes afterwards, this nullification of flood waters should be drawn into the dry land.

And simply the purpose of holidays of the month of tishrei is to draw holiness that we drew in this month into our daily lives throughout the whole year, “in land” until the service of god should be like all other physical things that all things should be leshaim shemayim and all paths should know G-d

And through this we should merit the preface of the saying/ prophesy” that the world will be filled with knowledge like the waters cover the earth B’karav mamesh, (Sicha RC Mar-Cheshvon TSNV)

The advantage of the dry land , in other words the existence  advantage of waters within water or the waters of the flood which is like the advantage of “water within water” l, which was the beginning of creation ,Is hinted  in the words of Rashi in the passage  “ land dry ““ grid kechlasan (will translate)

the earth was dry: It became dry earth, as it should be. יבשה: נעשהגרידכהלכתה:

Flood waters hint on the level of torah, the waters of knowledge, according to way in the existence of the above world; and the dry land refers to level of torah which has come down into this physical world

And only through “yeridah” coming downward, the torah descending to this world, does the torah reveal the aspect of Halacha of torah, as its this known that “the torah isn’t in the heavens and the Psak Halacha, the judgment of the torah is possible only  n according to the soul in a body.  For this aspect of Halacha is the knowledge of how to conduct oneself practically, Halacha lemasa practical Halacha. And also the aspects of halachos are to affect the world according: “halachos lemaanasoy” affect the world in the way it is written for its is written that “should not call them paths but halachos, laws” the action of path of torah in this the world is through the laws of torah until the world becomes a mehalach a vehicle

One can say that this is a hint in words Rashi, from the word “grid kehalashca, from the world Halacha, the word law, because this is the advantage of the dry land versus the flood waters that preceded them, because from the dry land one can reach the true intention of torah that it affects in this world through a portion of Halacha of torah

According to this also understood the passage of: “Orvas vahashem minchos Yehudah” which would be like the previous worlds, for it’s not understood the posuk “vaarvah” that it goes on the future on the comlete Geula, when the world is in true completeness. If so how should it be like the flood waters of Noach?

However, according to what said previeously,its understood because the beginning of  the koshering of world, and preparation for the completeness for the time of Geula, like when the waters covered the earth, was at the time of Noach, and through the flood waters that covered the e world,

5 the explanation of the advantages of the Mabel, , more specifically the Rambam writes at the end of the laws of Mikvaos the water of the Mikvah hint to   the “may Hadaas hatorah: the waters of intellect which are pure, “ just like through tefillah and water , a person that is completely covered in the Mikvah, one can’t see only the waters of the Mikvah so to the hint is that the Mikvah that ‘the soul comes into the waters of knowledge, that he has to be completely sunk in the waters of knowledge in a way until the existence of the person not seen, :just theaters of knowledge which he is sunk

And this is the spiritual concept of the Mabel, (where the whole world was covered d with water) that the whole world is sunk in the waters of knowledge until the existence of the world isn’t seen rather just “the waters of knowledge” (just like the spiritual aspect of the flood waters in the time of Noach that came “to destroy mankind”, “to destroy the world, “was in order to nullify from the word “leshachas with a complete nullification

6 however according to this explanation of the concept of the flood the way its in the supernal world, we must understand the other side, that since the aspect of the flood is shows on based on the great advantage that the whole world was null fifed in the waters of knowledge , so what is the inner meaning in the supernal world of the oath of God that he wouldn’t bring another flood, that there wouldn’t be another flood to destroy the world, since this oath is written in the torah its understood that its negating, and truthfully and the concept of the flood according to its spiritual meaning, ( one can say that the explanation is) the beginning of creation when the world was “water within water” , was because there wasn’t a created concept of dry land, and the flood came after the earth was created, like it’s in its existence and covered with water

And the difference between them spiritually that the advantage of the world was that where the world wasn’t yet created in an aspect of itself but was nullified within the power of god which was keeping it in existence therefore it wasn’t felt the existence of the world itself, because it wasn’t able 

7 according to what said previously understood that which Hashem swore not to bring flood to destroy the world, the complete intention that there should be a world, that I should be settled and not destroyed, that in its existence it should be a vessel for higher things, like explained before

Therefore Hashem didn’t want it to remain in manner of “water within water” even though that was the praise of Hashem, Hashem contracted this revelation until the earth should be seen, in the way it’s now, the present world

Even though this koshering  and this  power was given to the world through tefilla at the time of the Mabel, there, never the less wasn’t a need to destroy and completely nullify its existence; and therefore god swore that there wouldn’t be another flood, to the opposite that the purpose is that there should be an existence of the  world

8 according to the words of the  Shelah, according to the explanation of Rashi , on explanations of the torah, that in Rashi there  are hidden wondrous things, in our r case, that the spiritual advantage of dry land, where there was an existence of physicality and earthliness, that the waters of knowledge, in the waters of knowledge, until there was no existence except for god ( and this is similar to the condition of world in the future- like the words of Rambam in completion of his Sefer, “ that in that time there would be no dealings, that the world will not deal only will know god “the world will be filled with knowledge like the water covers the earth. “for the condition of world in the future is similar to the world at the time of the Mabel That the dealings of the service would be to know Hashem “May Hadaas” waters of knowledge, that the world will filled with knowledge, until there would be no dealings with the whole world rather to know only god) and this level was the level of the condition world at the beginning of creation when the world “was water within water”, and there was praise to god from  within the water, in other words, the world wasn’t recognized as the world as an existence of in its itself , just like something in the Mikvah which is “nitvel, tevilah; nullification) that the whole existence was only the godly power that created the world and kept it going.

However the complete purpose of this was; that this nullification should be drawn down and affect the existence of the world itself, and this is the preciseness of the posuk of the words of torah, that is explained according to the future   that “the world/ earth will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem like the waters cover the earth “in other words not that earth itself should be transformed into water but rather, just the existence of the earth should be filled with the knowledge of Hashem like water with a Chaf, covering waters, that the advantages like the water covering and not the earth itself that it won’t literally be covered with water, but the knowledge of Hashem will cover like the aspects of water, the advantages like water covering, and not the world itself

But to affect this advantage of the world itself, it needs a preparation/prefacing of “tefillah”of earth in the waters of the flood- to destroy the earth, to nullify for a temporary period the existence of the earth until its completely covered with water, and this nullification is what gives it power, that afterwards when the earth dries, then this nullification should be drawn into the dryness of the earth itself

And this is also the concept of the flood in a spiritual meaning, that it came to kasha the world so that it   vessel to this nullification that it should come to revelation that the future world , that the earth  will be covered with /filled knowledge like the waters cover the earth

9- a true explanation of the Mabel,




The Midrash1 relates: “At the beginning of Creation, G‑d’s praise emanated solely from the waters. When the Generation of the Flood rebelled against Him… G‑d said: ‘Let them be cast aside, and in their place shall come those who originally dwelled there.’ Thus the verse states:2 ‘The rain was upon the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.’ ”

According to the Midrash, the state of the world at the time of the Flood resembled the beginning of creation, when the world was “entirely composed of water.”3 This was truly an exalted state, a condition in which the entire world praised G‑d, as His praises emanated “solely from the waters.”

How does the explanation of the Midrash dovetail with the simple text, which states that the purpose of the Flood was “to destroy all flesh”?4

The Alter Rebbe explains5 that the inundation served not only to punish the Generation of the Flood, but also to “purify the world,” similar to the purifying waters of a mikveh. Thus the Flood served a positive purpose as well.

Even according to this explanation, the purifying effect of the Flood was related to the sins of that generation — sins that brought impurity into the world. According to the Midrash, however, the effect of the Flood was to bring about a state of pristine holiness and goodness, bearing absolutely no relation to iniquity.

Our Sages relate6 that the Torah preceded the world. Thus, although Torah is always to be understood in its simple context7 as it is studied in this physical world, we should not forget that each letter also contains a deeper spiritual context, as it is studied and understood in the higher spiritual realms — realms that are far removed from physicality.

Understandably, this applies not only to Torah directives but to Torah tales as well. Although all the Biblical narratives occurred exactly as detailed, since Torah preceded the world, these stories must perforce embrace a spiritual element consonant with the higher realms.8

Moreover, since “evil does not dwell with Him,”9 we must conclude that even those aspects of Torah which in the simple sense seem untoward (misdeeds, punishments, etc.), are understood in the higher realms — where evil does not exist — as manifestations of complete goodness and holiness.10

In light of the above, we can understand the following Chassidic tale:

The Alter Rebbe used to serve as Torah Reader. It happened that he was once out of town for the portion of Savo , which contains severe admonitions and maledictions. So that week his son, the Mitteler Rebbe , heard the Torah reading from another.

The Mitteler Rebbe’ s anguish on hearing the maledictions was so great that it was doubtful if he could fast on Yom Kippur. When asked: “But you hear this same Torah portion every year?” he responded: “When father reads, one does not hear maledictions.”

Now, when the Alter Rebbe would read the Torah, the simple content of the reading was surely heard. What did the Mitteler Rebbe mean by stating: “When father reads, one does not hear maledictions”?

In light of the above, his meaning is clear: Maledictions exist only as they are understood within the physical world. As Torah also relates to realms of complete holiness and goodness, where evil does not exist (and hence where there is no punishment for evil behavior), the maledictions themselves are wholly good.

The Mitteler Rebbe would hear his father’s reading of the maledictions as they existed above, where they are entirely matters of blessing.

The same holds true with regard to the Flood. It was merely in this world — in its simple context — that the Flood served as a punishment and a purification of sins. Since the Flood is related in the Torah , we must understand that it also exists in spheres where evil and sin simply do not exist.

The Midrash thus informs us that in those worlds, the Flood was an entirely good event; the earth reverted to a time when the entire planet sang G‑d’s praises.

From https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/92246/jewish/Noach-Blessed-Waters.htm Based on Likkutei Sichos , Vol. XXX, pp. 16-19.

1.    Bereishis Rabbah 5:1. See also Eichah Rabbah 1:52.

2.    Bereishis 7:12.

3.    Bereishis Rabbah 5:2; Yerushalmi Chagigah 2:1.

4.    Bereihis 6:13.

5.   Torah Or beginning of Noach (8c ff.). See also Toras Chayim, Noach 59b ff., Or HaTorah , Noach 609b ff.

6.    Shabbos 88b; Pesachim 54a; Bereishis Rabbah 1:4 et al.

7.    See Shabbos 63a, and additional sources cited there.

8.    See Likkutei Torah , Tazria 23b ff.

9.    Tehillim 5:5. See also Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar 3c and Or HaTorah (Yahel Or) on this verse.

10.    See also Sefer HaMaamarim 5679, p. 515ff.




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