"Never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth."
(Gen. 9:11)

As we have seen in previous chapters, the Flood was a reversion to the initial state of creation, in which the earth was physically submerged under water and spiritually submerged in Divine awareness. From this perspective, G‑d's promise to never again bring a flood seems puzzling: why shouldn't He?

...the world was filled with Divine awareness...

The explanation is as follows: At the very beginning of creation, all was water because dry land did not yet exist. On the spiritual level, this means that the world was filled with Divine awareness because dry land, which represents the facade of a self-sustained world independent of G‑d, did not yet exist.

G‑d's ultimate desire, however, is that Divine awareness permeate even a world with "dry land," i.e., self-awareness. Indeed, this will be the state of the world in the messianic age, when "the world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d like water covers the seabed" (Is. 11:9). At that time, even though the world will not be covered by water and we will still be in a state of self-awareness, we will nevertheless enjoy the Divine awareness normally associated with submersion under water, i.e., self-nullification.

...it first had to have been immersed in the waters of the Flood...

However, for the earth to reach this stage, it first had to have been immersed in the waters of the Flood, which "destroyed the earth," i.e., which nullified the earth's sense of self. This one-time experience conditioned the earth to be able to later attain Divine awareness — even after the waters receded and the earth reverted to dry land. The Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah 7:4) therefore compares the messianic age to the days of Noah, since the Flood initiated the process of conditioning the world for its ultimate state — Divine awareness despite the presence of self — which it will attain in the messianic age.

Once this conditioning occurred, G‑d promised never to Flood the earth again, in keeping with His original intention for the world to exist in its "natural" state and still be a vessel for Divine awareness.

In fulfilling our own Divine mission on earth, we also experience a period of immersion in the waters of Divine awareness: the High Holy Days of the month of Tishrei. Our challenge is to successfully experience Divine awareness even after Tishrei, when the "waters have receded" and our "dry" self has emerged.

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[Likutei Sichot, vol. 30, pp. 21-23]