Oftentimes we feel as if life is one extended hurricane. We are constantly battling the waves which the sea of life sends our way. As soon as one wave washes ashore, the second one is not far behind, threatening to capsize us unless we skillfully navigate our way over its raging crest. Indeed, the daily financial pressures and business worries with which life presents us are dubbed by King Solomon the “mighty waters” which threaten to drown us. They primarily imperil our spiritual side, desensitizing us to that which is really important in life through causing us to be constantly focused on making another buck. They constantly occupy our minds, rendering it like a vessel filled to the brim with murky waters which won’t allow the radiance of the sun to cause it to sparkle.

We can also unravel the secret behind surviving all floods

The book of Genesis speaks of a great flood that washed away all of civilization. Only Noah and his family survived the Flood by entering the ark, which protected them from the pelting rain which streamed from above and the churning waters which rose from the depths. Our eternal Torah isn’t merely telling us a fascinating tale; if we look a bit deeper, at the story behind the story, we can also unravel the secret behind surviving all floods—even the ones which the meteorologists don’t forecast: the ominous floods of life.

G‑d commanded Noah to enter an Ark. The Baal Shem Tov points out that the Hebrew word for “ark,” teivah, also means “word.” We all can survive the floods which wish to engulf our lives through engrossing ourselves in the holy “words” of Torah and prayer. The person who wakes up in the morning and devotes his first hours to earnest prayer and some short words of Torah before running off to work effectively insulates himself against life’s storms. The sacred words of Torah and prayer have a waterproofing effect, ensconcing the person in an impenetrable bubble which can endure even the harshest winds. Starting the day with prayer and Torah serves as our daily reminder that G‑d is in control and that though we must strive to earn a livelihood, we must never let ourselves become overly perturbed by business pressures—because ultimately everything is from G‑d, and G‑d is always good.

One who meets life’s storms while in the safe sanctuary of the “ark” will find that the storm waters which seem to be so destructive are actually purifying waters. G‑d purified the world through the Flood (which lasted forty days, similar to a mikvah [ritual pool] which must contain forty sa’ah1 of water), and He purifies us by sending challenges and tribulations in our direction. If we are properly prepared for these storms, they bring out our highest and most noble qualities, elevating us to spiritual heights we could never attain without the help of these hurricanes.