I spent this past weekend in the northern part of Israel looking out at the beautiful sea of Galilee, Lake Kinneret.
What is it about the looking out on the sea that makes our heart sing?
I can remember my Bubby singing about the Kinneret and there it was in front of me, blue, beautiful and full, as we had enough rain last year.
Why is it that when people look at the ocean or any large body of water their mood changes, and a gust of fresh air comes into their lungs?
What is it about water that soothes the soul?
Water is a sign of purity. On the simplest level, when a person wants to clean their hands from any kind of dirt, they go to the sink and wash their hands with some water.
The world is composed of 71% water, and the human body is composed of approximately 60% water.
The holy Torah is compared to water.
At the time of creation, the world was all water and Hashem sectioned the world out so that only in certain areas would there be bodies of water. Water without boundaries can also be a curse just like the waters of the flood that Hashem brought about in this week’s portion of the Torah reading, Noah.
We are drawn to water in such a strong manner, since water is more than 50% of our being. When we look at water it calms us down since we are connecting to what is whole and pure within ourselves. When we look at the water, it is wholesome, it is clean, but at times the ocean can be so enormous that it’s frightening.
All these attributes of the water symbolize more than just a physical feeling. Water is technically healing but it’s also extremely spiritual. And this is the reason that our holy Torah was compared to the water.
When a lady goes to the mikvah, it’s a spiritual act that keeps the entire Jewish home alive. In the times of the holy Temple part of the holy work that was done there was purifying the body in the water.
The water is all over the world and so is the Torah. Torah to the Jewish people is like water to all mankind. The properties of the Torah are similar to those of water – they both promote growth. And above all water always goes from a high place to a lower one. Water, unlike light, leaves one place and goes to the next.
If a person were to light a candle and pass on that light to another candle, the light in the first candle wouldn’t be lessened even the slightest bit. However, if someone was to pour water from a pitcher into a cup there would be less water in the pitcher than before the water was poured out.
Hashem in His infinite wisdom, sent us from the heavens above the holy Torah, down to us so that we may learn, grow and purify ourselves. The Torah/the water, leaves a high place and emerges to a lower place; this world and our souls, thus creating growth. Water seeps from above and goes under the ground to help the plants grow. The fetus lays in the womb surrounded by fluids and throughout the entire pregnancy grows in this water.
We are told that in the womb there are angels which teach the baby all the Torah, and once they are born the angel taps the children on their upper lip and makes them forget all they have learned. This learning in the womb is done, since it’s easier to regain something you already know than something new altogether.
The Torah reaches people at the lowest levels thus pushing and encouraging their growth.
There is the famous story of Rabbi Akiva who was already 40 years old and didn’t know how he was going to start learning at such a late start in life. And then he saw the drops of water by the pond, which kept on tapping on the stone nearby and eventually those drops of water made their impact on that hard stone. This process gave Rabbi Akiva strength to begin learning. Rabbi Akiva said that if this hard stone can be penetrated, so can his mind be opened, even at the age of 40.
Whenever we are looking at the beautiful ocean we connect to our souls which are thirsting for the Torah we learned in the womb, and are thirsting to get back all the information that we lost over time. The water soothes us since it reminds us of Hashem who created us in his image and gave us the Torah with which we can serve him better.
May we merit learning Torah daily just as we need to drink and cleanse ourselves daily in water.
May our growth produce the most beautiful offspring, just as it is written in the Gemara of Ta’anit 5:72, that the tree was blessed that all his fruit should be as good and as sweet as he is.
Seeing our children following in the path of the Torah is truly the biggest blessing in the world.