It's been a rainy week, and what better weather to commemorate the great flood of Noah? For it's the story of Noah and Naamah (Noah's wife) and the ark which we read about in this week's Torah portion.

But today I'd like to tell you about another, lesser known flood, also described in the Torah - albeit in a different book. This great flood is depicted in the Zohar, the great book of Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism) written in the first century C.E.

The Zohar writes that just as the Great Flood in the times of Noah occurred in the 600th year of Noah's life (talk about aging well!), so too would a great flood occur in 600th year of the sixth millennium on the Jewish calendar. That would correspond to the year 1840 C.E. 

This second flood, predicted by the Zohar nearly two millennia earlier,  would not be one of torrential rains and geysers, but one of knowledge. Specifically, there would be two great bursts of knowledge in 1840. The first would be a flood of 'knowledge from above' (spiritual study), while the second would be a flood of 'knowledge from below' (scientific advancement). 

Indeed, starting around the year 1840, the world experienced a burst of technology, from the Industrial Revolution down to the MacBook Pro.

On the spiritual side as well, there was also a great burst of knowledge, with tremendous advances in Kabalaistic study, Talmudic academies, and the introduction of Chassidic philosophy.

Ok, you might say, an interesting bit of Kabbalah. Not only was there a flood for Noah, but also a flood of both scientific and spiritual knowledge predicted by a book two millennia ago. 

But what does this have to do with us on November 1st 2019?

As is often the case with Kabbalaistic writings that may seem somewhat esoteric, at the heart of this bit of Torah is a wonderfully practical, inspiring and insightful message for us.

How so?

The Zohar tells not only about a spiritual burst of knowledge, but of a scientific one as well. For a book as spirituality-oriented as the Zohar, this would seem a bit perplexing. After all, why would the Torah care about scientific knowledge? Aren't religion and science at odds with each other?

Yet this anecdote about the Flood 2.0 tells us that it’s quite the contrary. Judaism is an all-encompassing mission to make the best of life, our surroundings and the world at large.

Whether it’s making the best of a Friday evening by turning into Shabbat, or making the best of a Sunday morning by going to your son’s baseball game - they’re essentially one and  the same. The millennia old Jewish mission of revealing and maximizing the potential of every person, place, object and even time has brought an untold amount of discovery, spirituality, technology and medicine to the world. 

When the Zohar speaks of a flood of both spiritual wisdom, as well as scientific advancement, it was once again highlighting the very core of the Jewish view on life: 

God created our wonderful world as a gift for us - and it is up to us to maximize every element of that gift. From nature to faith, from science to family, from the climax of Yom Kippur to an avergage Friday afternoon. Our mission is to transform our world from mere Earth... into a Garden. 

Rabbi Avrohom