The seventh day of the Jewish month of MarCheshvan, Zayin MarCheshvan, always falls in the week that follows the Shabbos whose Torah portion is Noach. As known, the days of the week are connected to the Shabbos that precedes them, that Shabbos being the source of their blessing.1 Consequently, the theme of Zayin MarCheshvan is connected with those themes found in the section of Noach.2

Zayin MarCheshvan is the day when Jews in Eretz Yisrael begin “to ask for rain; fifteen days after the festival [of Sukkos.]”3 For during the time of the Beis HaMikdash, Jews made a thrice-yearly pilgrimage to the Beis HaMikdash: for Pesach, Shavuos and Sukkos. Even the pilgrim who lived at the farthest boundary of Eretz Yisrael and had the greatest distance to travel back home from Jerusalem after spending Sukkos there, had already returned home by Zayin MarCheshvan and wouldn’t be inconvenienced by the rain that was now being prayed for.4

Thus, from the day following the festival up until Zayin MarCheshvan, the spiritual state of ascent enjoyed by the Jewish people during their pilgrimage still continued. Beginning with Zayin MarCheshvan, all the Jews were already home and thus in a state of spiritual descent relative to their lofty state while in Jerusalem, where they came face to face with G‑d.

Still, a Jew must continuously rise from level to level5 in holiness, and it therefore follows that the Jewish people’s subsequent spiritual station after returning home from Jerusalem possessed a quality superior even to that of their spiritual state during their pilgrimage.

But how can one attain a greater measure of holiness after the pilgrimage — upon one’s return home — than that which was attained when one came “face to face” — as it were — with G‑d in the Beis HaMikdash?

This will be understood in light of what the Jew occupied himself with upon his return home. Involved in agricultural matters (as most Jews were during those times), he was able to perform the agricultural commandments relating to Eretz Yisrael, as well as drawing down holiness within all his physical affairs. This is something he was incapable of doing while he was on pilgrimage in Jerusalem and in the Beis HaMikdash.

This manner of serving G‑d through one’s involvement in the material world — as opposed to one’s total spiritual involvement while in Jerusalem — accomplishes a two-fold elevation, both with regard to the person himself, as well as with regard to the physical objects with which he occupies himself:

Our Sages tell us6 that “G‑d passionately desired to have a dwelling place in the lowest realm,” i.e., in this physical world. We accomplish this by performing mitzvos with material objects, particularly those commandments that relate to the earth itself.

A Jew makes a dwelling for G‑d in the nethermost level, drawing down G‑d’s sanctity and permeating the physical with holiness, when he takes physical things, in and of themselves not sacred objects per se, and performs a mitzvah with them, thereby transforming these objects into mitzvah-objects and sacred objects.

So, too, with regard to the person himself. While on pilgrimage in Jerusalem and in the Beis HaMikdash the Jew is not that immersed in his service with material matters — the “nethermost levels.” For while in Jerusalem the person is in a place that is intrinsically holy, and as such he is mostly occupied with sacred matters. Indeed, his primary spiritual service in Jerusalem consists of presenting himself before and beholding G‑d.7

Thus, it is specifically on Zayin MarCheshvan, when the Jew returns to his home, that he begins to express the quality and merit of a personal spiritual service that involves elevating the actual lowliest levels of this material world.

And it is specifically upon his return home that the Jew becomes G‑d’s emissary, the entity that makes possible the fulfillment of G‑d’s desire that He have a dwelling in the nethermost levels — something he cannot accomplish (to such an extent) while in Jerusalem. Additionally, the manner of service while at home — interacting with the physical for a spiritual purpose — transforms the physical objects themselves, so that they become the actual dwelling for G‑d in this most nethermost world.

In light of the above explanation of the importance of Zayin MarCheshvan and the crucial role it plays in transforming the entire physical world into a dwelling for G‑d, we can understand the relationship of Zayin MarCheshvan to the portion of Noach.

The commentators explain8 the intent and sin that took place at the Tower of Bavel in the following manner: There was a desire on the part of many that the entire world’s population live in one place. They therefore desired to build a city and tower that would unite the world’s population in one locale.

This, however, was at odds with G‑d’s desire of “filling the world, and conquering it,9 ” that G‑d’s request of “settling [all of] creation10 ” be achieved throughout the entire world, not only in one location.

This is also why G‑d commanded Noach to “Leave the Ark ... and fill the earth.11 ” In the Ark, all men and animals were confined to one narrow space. G‑d’s intent, however, is for the entire world to be “filled,” so that the whole world is transformed into a dwelling place for G‑d. And this, of course, is what Zayin MarCheshvan is all about.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXV, pp. 38-45.