The story of Noach is a classic and we learn it year after year. However a point we don’t often think about is the amount of time that Noach was in the ark. The rain poured for 40 days, the world was submerged in water for 40 days. So why 40?
Chazal teaches us that 40 has great significance throughout the Torah. Moshe led the Jewish people for 40 years in the wilderness, Moshe was on Har Sinai for 40 days before coming down with the luchot and there are 40 days from the first day of Elul, through to Yom Kippur, which is a time we use for teshuva and working on our middot and being the best version of ourselves we can be.
When a person becomes ritually impure, he must immerse in a mikveh. The Talmud tells us that a mikveh must be filled with 40 se’ahs (measure of water). The immersion in a mikveh is the symbol of spiritual renewal.
It is no accident that in the story of Noach, the rain poured for 40 days, and submerged the world in water. The world needed to be renewed! Just like a person leaves a mikveh pure, so too when the waters of the flood subsided, the world was purified from the corruption of that generation.
There is a mystical tradition that one who recites the prayer @nishmatkolchai for forty days will bring about powerful yeshua and beracha. (See @charleneaminoff amazing page for more details!)
40 represents change. A change within ourselves and breaking out of a mold and and making right our actions and behaviour.
Coming out of Tishrei, the month of chagim, and into Marhacheshvan, a month with no chagim to ‘distract’ us, we need to constantly remember to take the added mitzvot we took on during yamim noraim and still work on them.
May we all be blessed to be able to work on our learning and understanding of the Torah and may we constantly grow in our avodat hashem one day at a time until we master the little daily motions so that observance of mitzvot and spiritual growth become constant habits.
Written by the amazing @sophiefelberg