In this week’s parshah, we read about the Flood and the teivah. The Hebrew word teivah has two meanings. It means “ark,” like the ark which HaShem commanded Noach to build, and it also means “word,” like the words in our siddur and chumash.

The instructions which HaShem gave Noach about the teivah also teach us about the words of our davening and learning. HaShem tells Noach — bo el hateivah — “Come into the teivah.” We can learn from this that when we daven and learn, we shouldn’t just hurry through the words. We should “come into the teivah” —put ourselves into the words by putting our minds and hearts into what we are saying.

HaShem also tells Noach — tzohar ta’aseh lateivah — “You should make light for the teivah.” Noach built a window which allowed light into the teivah. We must also make sure our teivos — our words of davening and learning — are bright. They should shine with the bright light of our neshamah.

Later, the Torah describes how the teivah floated on the waters. vatorom hateivah — “And the teivah was uplifted.” The gushing waters of the Flood are like the busy world around us. When we put ourselves into the words of our davening and learning, those holy words lift us above the world.

We start our day with bo el hateivah, putting our minds and hearts into our davening and learning. We make those words shine with the light of our neshamah, and as we concentrate on these holy words, we feel uplifted. We are not bothered by all the things going on in the world around us.

Then, we are ready to go about our daily activities, spreading the light of our davening and learning all around. This is what we learn from HaShem’s next command to Noach: tzei min hateivah — “Go out from the teivah.HaShem tells Noach “Be fruitful and multiply, rule over the land and conquer it.” We too can conquer the world for the Torah, spreading HaShem’s holiness in everything we do.

Our Rabbis tell us that Noach’s teivah was like the time of Mashiach. When Mashiach comes, lions, tigers, and other wild animals will live together with the sheep and goats, just as they did in Noach’s teivah. When Noach left the teivah, his job was to take that spirit with him, and make not only the ark, but the entire world ready for Mashiach.

(Adapted from Sichos Shabbos Parshas Noach, 5733;
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXV, Parshas Noach)