Call me Boruch.
Some months ago, I spent a week with my family in a watery part of the world--Cape Cod, MA, to be exact. The sea, the sun, the salty air, drove off my spleen and put a summer shine into the November in my soul--at least until the return to New Jersey.
The trip also made me wonder why I love boats.
The Kabbalah behind the story of Noah's ark provides an answer.
Our world is described as coming into being as "something from nothing." This is an extremely odd expression. Doesn't the world come from G‑d? Yet we say it's "something
from nothing." What's G‑d, chopped liver?
Actually there are two perspectives on our world. In one, called the Lower Perspective (Daat Tachton), we see a world full of "stuff"--trees, printers, bowls of split pea
soup, etc. This stuff--the material realm--has immediate reality to us. We call it "something."
The spiritual realms, on the other hand, we call "nothing." Not because we don't think they're there, but because they're hidden from us. Less real. Consider, for example, how much life goes by without spiritual content, as
though the deeper dimension doesn't mean anything.
The second perspective, however, says the opposite: The true reality is spiritual reality. That's where you find the depth of life, expanded consciousness, absolute concepts and the never-ending beauty of inner soul. That's where you find G‑d. That's the "something." Relative to this Higher
Perspective (Daat Elyon), the material world is an insignificant "nothing." (From this perspective, we'd say that the world is "nothing from something"!)
Here's where the boat comes in. Kabbalah calls the Lower Perspective the perspective of Dry Land: When we gaze upon it, we see only a surface reality, where things stick out, make noise, get in our face. But the Higher Perspective is called the perspective of the Sea: When we gaze upon it, we see something
deep--a single, silent, powerful, unifying Oneness, blanketing all else within its Presence.
Accordingly, the lofty souls of the masters of Jewish mysticism are called the Fish of the Sea, swimming in the Ocean of Higher Reality, never leaving the
deep spirituality of their Source; whereas the rest us are called Animals of the
Land, roaming the surface of existence, negotiating the "stuff." To this I say,
For the "Fish Souls" to bring the "Land Souls" on a tour of their territory
requires a boat. The Land Creature then gains a glimpse of the Fish's Higher
Perspective--gets a sense of the great depth of his world.
The word for "ark" in Hebrew is teivah, which also means "word." Thus
Noah's ark represents the words and teachings of Jewish spiritual
enlightenment. Enter the ark of Kabbalah and sail the Sea of Higher
Consciousness. Gaze into the depth of a powerful Oneness.
With the vehicle of Kabbalah, Noah brought the world to a Higher Place. That's why I like boats. Ship ahoy!