The Maturing of Humankind – Parashat Noach

October 5, 2018 at 2:46 PM , , ,
“….G-od smelled the appeasing fragrance, and G-od said to himself, “….never again will I strike down all life as I have done. As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night, will never cease……” (Bereishit 8:21-22)

״ וירח ה׳ את ריח הניחוח ויאמר ה׳ אל לבו…. ולא אוסיף עוד להכות את כל חי כאשר עשיתי: עד כל ימי הארץ זרע וקציר וקר וחם וקיץ וחורף ויום ולילה לא ישבותו….״ – בראשית ח, כא-כב


In the aftermath of the Flood, the world was introduced to two seemingly opposite extremes. On the one hand, the earth achieved stability and permanence – after the Flood, G-d swore to never again destroy the world. Conversely, the human life span was drastically shortened: from an average close to 1000 years before the Flood, to an average of 100-200 years in the generations that followed it.

These changes reflect the change in human potential that the Flood brought about, as also expressed in the rainbow, the sign of G‑d’s covenant to never again destroy the world (Beraishis 9:15). A rainbow is created when moisture rising from the earth catches and refracts the light of the sun. The rising moisture represents earthly man’s ability to contribute to the world, refining and making the world receptive to G-dliness. Unlike the generations prior to the Flood, which were sustained by G-d’s benevolence and kindness alone, post-Flood humanity is capable of earning its keep.

Thus, the two extremes described above are two sides of the same coin. The world is now potentially deserving that G-d should sustain it – for eternity, just as He is eternal. Therefore, the world can last forever. By the same token, however, since humanity must now depend on its own limited efforts to deserve life, the lifespan of the individual has consequently become limited and short.

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—Likutei Sichos vol. 15, pp. 51-54






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