G‑d told Noah to build an ark in order that he, his family, and representatives of all forms of animal life survive the Flood.
Respite and Regeneration
וַיֹּאמֶר ה' לְנֹחַ בֹּא . . . אֶל הַתֵּבָה וגו': (בראשית ז:א)
G‑d said to Noah, “Come into the ark.” Genesis 7:1

Metaphorically, our personal “arks” are our periods of Torah study and prayer. Just as Noah and his family were protected by the ark from the flood that raged outside it, we can “enter” the worlds of Torah study and prayer in order to be protected from the “flood” of worldly concerns that threatens to inundate us.

It is particularly helpful to immerse ourselves in prayer first thing in the morning. When we confront the world anew each morning, it and everything in it can seem to exist self-sufficiently, as if in no need of G‑d. The morning prayers help us recognize that the world could not exist on its own, and that its purpose is to be made into G‑d’s natural home.

Beginning our day this way helps us to consciously avoid activities that do not further this goal, taking care instead to use every moment as an opportunity to fulfill it. Thus prepared, we can engage in worldly pursuits without fear that they will turn into “raging waters” that overwhelm us with anxiety, stress, and distractions.1