"From a while ago":I went fishing tonight and used the occasion to also do tashlich. [Shlomo Note: Tashlich comes from the Hebrew "to cast." It referring to the casting away one's sins.]
There is a story of the Baal Shem Tov [aka Besht] who, during one of his many trips with a few of his talmidim, stopped to say Minchah. They had no water with them to wash with before praying, so, the Besht told one of the talmidim to go into the woods and the water would find him. The talmid soon came upon a small spring that looked as though it had just sprung up recently. He filled the container and returned to the Besht. After davening minchah the talmid asked the Besht how he knew there would be a new spring close by. The Besht told the talmid that all water wants to be used for a sacred purpose.
Ever since hearing this story, It has been my custom, when fishing in a new lake or river, to always wash and say the blessing, then a short prayer.
So, this evening, after doing tashlich and then casting my bait out and settling into my chair to see what would come about, I got to thinking about water.
It seems that we do a lot of blessing related to water. Blessing after washing for prayer; blessing after washing before eating; blessing for washing after deportment; blessings in the mikvah; blessings for the early and late rains, blessings for dew; blessing on seeing a great body of water; blessing on seeing a rainbow; blessing on seeing lightning; blessing on hearing thunder. All these blessings associated with water. Being the curious type, I am now wondering why?
As I am sitting there watching the bobber on the water doing absolutely nothing; my thoughts are drawn to B’reisheet [i.e. the Torah Book of Genesis] and a rather strange connection between man and water:
1: 6 “And God said: 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.”
Now, unlike the other creations, there is one thing missing here. Notice, HaShem does not make the pronouncement that it was “good”. Did He forget? Not likely! Let’s look further into the narrative.
1: 27 “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. 28 And God blessed them; and God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.'”
Again, no pronouncement of “good”. Why? What is it about water and man that HaShem would not make a pronouncement that what He had done was “good”?
We go further into the narrative to find another clue.
2: 20 “And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof. 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And the man said: 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.' 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.
Aha! That is the common link; separation. The water was separated into the waters above and the waters below. Man was separated into man and woman.
So, when HaShem separated the waters, He was separating like from like. The separation was necessary for life to exist on the earth; not the ideal for the water, but necessary. Separating the water in an eternal dance of rain and evaporation; touching but never able to be together again. Maybe that is why we have the old saying “water seeks water”.
Like the waters, man was separated into man and woman; the soul likewise separated. However, unlike the water, man and woman can come close to being reunited and whole once again in this realm, and we know that we will be fully reunited in the upper realms.
Maybe, to compensate the waters for the separation, much like the compensation of the Moon, HaShem gave us so many blessings related to water.
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