Parshat Noach 5779


There is an interesting verse in this week’s Parsha regarding G-d’s command to Noach to build an ark, due to the decree of the approaching flood.  “A window (tzohar in Hebrew) shall you make for the Ark, and to a cubit finish it from above.” (Chapter 6, Verse 16)  Rashi brings two options from the Midrash Raba regarding what the tzohar actually was: some of the Sages say it was a window (as translated above), like a skylight, and others say it was a precious, shining stone.

Based on this verse from the Parsha, Rebbe Nachman brings an amazing teaching about truth.  When a person stands in prayer before G-d, many times he finds it hard to pray properly with intention and find the words he wants to express because of the bad thoughts and bad spiritual forces which come against him and surround him.  He finds himself in spiritual darkness and he can’t pray.  Rebbe Nachman says that the rectification and the advice for this situation is to express words of truth, whatever words of prayer you can say, say them with truth.  Truth is like the shining gem or the rays of sunlight coming through the window.  Don’t pray to G-d about something which you don’t even feel connected to at that moment, rather say what’s on your heart at that time.  “Hashem I feel really frustrated right now because…please help me.”  “This situation is really painful for me, I don’t know what to do, please send me good advice.”  By way of the words which come out of your mouth in truth, they will create an opening for you in the darkness which you find yourself and then you’ll be able to pray from the depths of your heart. (Likutei Moharan, Part 1, Teachings 9 & 112)

I learned this teaching in the past year with a friend, and the powerful message of the importance of speaking the truth before G-d made a strong impression on me.  He wants our words, to express before him what we are really feeling and going through at that time, and not what we think we are supposed to say or what the voices of others tell us we should say.  I feel that this teaching is helping me to be honest with myself when I take time for personal prayer.  I try to take some deep breaths and calm and compose myself, listen to my heart and express my thoughts, feelings and desires.  I also see that in my marriage, many times I struggle with being open and honest with my wife about something which is causing me doubt or confusion, but when I do share with her my thoughts and feelings it helps me to find clarity and strength.

Rebbe Nachman says in the same teaching mentioned above to remember this principle very well, to seek only the truth, because it’s a great and fundamental point which everything depends upon in the service of G-d.  Truth is the light of G-d himself, and if G-d’s light is shining upon us then there’s no darkness which can trap us.  G-d wants us to be simple, real and honest, something which in modern times has become more and more difficult for many people.  We should all merit to live with this teaching and experience it in our lives, amen.

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