A LINGUISTIC JOURNEY ON NOACH’S ARK
B.S.D. By: Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk Jan 12-12
Have you ever stopped to think about just how much in our lives depends upon tevos? Language is a repository for human traditions and culture. Each nation uses words in order to communicate their collective sociological and historical perspectives and experiences. These words, however, are descriptive, but not creative.
Lashon Hakodesh is a unique language in that G-d used it to create, as well as constantly recreate, the entire universe. Thus the DNA, the blueprint of all reality, exists within the letters and words of the Torah.
When (Hashem) G-d brought the flood waters to inundate the world, He directed Noach to build a teiva. In Lashon Hakodesh, “ark” and “word” are cognates, that is, they are both composed of the same letters. This is not mere coincidence. There is a profound spiritual message in that equivalence.
This “Ark” was constructed of specific dimensions which were shin amos long; nun amos wide and lamed amos high. Interestingly, the three letters, nun, shin and lamed, which are embedded within these dimensions, form the rashei teivos for the three major motivators of human behavior – the ruchnious influence emanates from the neshama, the intellectual powers develop from the seichel, and emotional expression springs forth from the lev.
Just as Noach’s teiva contained that which could reestablish the entire eco-system of this world on the physical level, our tevos through Torah and Tefillos contain within them the power to rectify this world at all levels (including the neshoma). Therefore we can see a fascinating relationship between the dimensions of the teiva and ourselves. How so?
Just as Noach’s teiva travelled in the direction of its length which was “S”hin amos, so to the words that we speak “travel” in the attitudinal “direction” guided by our “S”eichel. That is to say it is our “S”eichel that assists us to “navigate” through life.
Also just as the width of the ark, which was “N”un amos, is the dimension that provides the ships balance and stability, how much more so is our “N”eshama, the most essential “dimension” of our essence, in that it provides not only the proper “balance and stability between spirit and matter but also can bring one to a state of equanimity (histakavut) and devakus.
Last but not least, just as Noach’s ark, which was “L”amed amos high, bobbed up and down as it drifted on the high seas, so too the emotions that spring forth from the “L”ev highlight the vibrancy of one’s personality.
May our tevos, of Torah and Tefillah, “steer” us safely throughout our “voyage” in life, thereby meriting to reach our “port of destination” – the final geula – soon in our days.