Weekly Dvar Torah: Get Out of the Ark

After the flood, G-d commands Noach to get out of the Ark and to lead all the animals out as well.

G-d says; היצא אתך = bring them out with you, and Rashi explains that even if they refuse to go, force them out.

That’s a very puzzling statement, after spending an entire year in an ark the size of 300 cubits (450 ft) long by 50 cubits (75 ft) wide and 30 cubits (45) high, why would anybody want to spend another minute in such cramped quarters?

Think about it, the three floors of the ark were divided into three compartments, top floor for the humans, middle floor for all the animals big and small, and the bottom floor collected all the waste.

Could you imagine how claustrophobic it felt spending a year in such a place? It’s incomprehensible to fathom just how they all fit into this rather tiny space, let alone that they included all kinds of predators who sat there within an earshot of their prey for an entire year.

And after all that when they are given the chance to leave and get out to their natural habitat, the open wide world, they need to be forced out?

Furthermore, when G-d instructed Noach to get into the ark, Noach was not a happy camper, he needed to be forced into the ark, so now when he finally gets the chance to get out he needed to be forced out?

Chassidus gives us the most amazing insight into the travails of Noach and all the inhabitants of the ark.

The Ark was in actuality a foretaste of the times of Moshiach, the fact that all the animals lived in peace for the entire year without tearing each other apart, and the fact that they had fresh food to sustain them throughout the year, was something so miraculous that it resembles the peaceful and blissful times of Moshiach.

The food was blessed, there was no need to go out and hunt for food or to work the fields to find and prepare food, it was all there ready and fresh, like we are told that when Moshiach comes all we will need to do is to pick and eat the food right off the trees.

They had food right then and there as needed, otherwise they would surely consume each other, the wolf lived alongside the sheep, the leopard with the kid and the lion with the fatling, and the cows rested next to the bears.

These were messianic prophecies unfolding in front of their eyes. The light of G-dliness unfolding in front of their eyes. They were basking in the shine of G-d’s glory while being protected from the stormy waters that obliterated the world.

Why would anybody want to leave such a paradise?

Noach and his cohabitants argued, we are very happy, we are living the bliss, why get out to a world which demands from us to toil and sweat for every piece of bread, where any little hiccup distracts us away from G-d and G-dliness?

That’s why Hashem had to command Noach to get out of the ark, G-d said to him, life in this world is meant to be worked on, it is meant to be earned, you must go out and yes, go to work and make the world a better place, the blissful times are over for now, all this bliss was for one purpose that from you a new world will be born, a world where you will work and overcome challenges and go from strength to strength to improve and grow and make others grow, go make Me a new world.

And this message is given to each and everyone of us, we just spent an amazing month with G-d, we prayed and we danced and we celebrated G-d and the Torah, and we love it, we argue that we want to spend the rest of our lives like this, praying in Shul and enjoying the Torah, why should we leave and return to our routine mundane life?

Hashem says, all this was for one purpose and one purpose only, so that you can go out to My world and perfect it.

Noach was told that your time in the ark was for this moment, the post flood moment, you were protected and spared from the flood, so that from now on you will start a brand-new world which you will build from scratch to make it a perfect world.

Hashem says to us that all this bliss of Tishrei was all about the next 11 months, you were given all the tools and energy to prove yourselves that you are capable to do G-d’s work in a world full of challenges.

And this way a new world is born.

Soon to return to the world of bliss with Moshiach speedily.

Have a Shabbos of rebirth,
Gut Shabbos

Rabbi Yosef Katzman

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