In connection with the Flood, in this week's Torah portion, the Torah states that in the year 600 all of the subterranean waterways burst forth. In discussing this verse, the Zohar teaches that in the Jewish year 5600 (1830 CE), there will begin a bursting forth of great wisdom in the world. Many people are amazed by the explosion of expanding secular knowledge, particularly of science, in recent years. This increased knowledge is what the Zohar predicted to us 1,800 years ago.

Even young people will learn and understand this wisdom….

Also very interesting is the relatively young age of these "discoverers". In previous generations it took most of a lifetime of study to become a scientist, whereas today, because fields of study have been divided into smaller specialized realms and access to information has been easily made available for learning and sharing, great strides can be accomplished in a much shorter time. This also correlates with the Zohar's prediction of the opening of the wellsprings of knowledge - even young people will learn and understand this wisdom.

An underlying unity in the universe will be revealed....

The Zohar concludes its discussion saying that the purpose of these great revelations will be for the world to recognize that it is under the ultimate sovereignty of G‑d. Not only will G‑d be "One", but we will see the world as one too! Contrary to traditional theories, an underlying unity in the universe will be revealed. It was once postulated that the world is composed of infinite but independent components. Now, the opposite is being proven. More recent discoveries indicate that these components are not at all independent of each other, but the one underlying element common to all has not yet been revealed.

From this we can learn what the mission of our current era is. Our generation is privileged to previously unavailable opportunities, but, unfortunately, because of our failings and our enormous grief, we are not taking advantage of them. What is happening globally on a macro- scale, is likewise happening on a micro-scale with individuals. As a result of this, there is now a strong "return to your roots" cultural phenomenon. Many individuals thirst to return to their religious roots, but do not know where to search or even where their soul is. What vehicle or mechanism will remove the concealment? Confused, they wander, hungry and thirsty. G‑d's wellsprings - spiritual knowledge, is not always easily found. These people wait for someone who will come forward to teach them, whenever and wherever.

Fulfilling one's spiritual mission is the ultimate purpose of the soul's life....

One thing that has certainly been accomplished is the crushing of our "fathers' idols" of the previous generation. But this has left a greater confusion, and people's souls call out like a child. What are many leaders doing about this? Unfortunately, they are concerned with insignificant details - finding a speaker for a wedding party; that their facility is up to par; to read up on all the current literature and events so as to comment on it to one's congregants. What should a leader be doing? He should be striving for the actualization of his congregation's holy potential. Fulfilling one's spiritual mission is the ultimate purpose of the soul's life in this dimension and for which he was placed in a position of leadership. "To the hungry he should give bread, and to the thirsty he should give water"; the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught that "bread" is G‑dly service, and "water" is Torah.

In later years, the Lubavitcher Rebbe broadened this message to include all Jewish people, not just community leaders. He said that even if you only know the Hebrew letter alef, it is your mission to teach this knowledge to others. What better resolution can you find than to begin the new year by helping spread Jewish knowledge to more Jewish people.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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