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A Pure World
Many verses throughout the Torah speak about the special purity the world will have in the future. During the Yom Kippur prayers we say, “Sprinkle upon us the holy waters and purify us, as is written, ‘And I will sprinkle upon you holy waters and purify you from all your impurities and idol worship’ (Ezekiel 36:25). A verse in Zecharia (13:2) states that in the future, G-d will “remove the spirit impurity from the earth.”

What is the spirit of impurity that will be removed? And what are these “holy waters” that G-d will sprinkle on us?

According to Rashi and other commentators, these verses refer to the process of purification from contact with the dead. In the World to Come, G-d will sprinkle the waters mixed with the ashes of the Red Heifer on all the Jews and thus we will be purified forever. In Moshiach’s times, there will no longer be a need for this purification since death will be eradicated. Other commentaries explain that the purification refer to the spiritual awakening we will experience in the time of Redemption.

The last great purification of the world occurred with the great flood in the days of Noah. Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains that the flood purified the world from the sins of man. The rains of the flood, which lasted for 40 days and nights, served as a mikvah—which requires a minimum of 40 sa’ah of water. (A sa’ah is a biblical measurement, about 8.3 liters.)

The great flood will never be repeated, as G-d promised to Noah, yet the spiritual process it represents will recur with the future Redemption. As Maimonides writes in Mishneh Torah, “And in that time, the occupation of the world will be solely to know G-d, as is written, ‘The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as waters cover the ocean’ [Isaiah 11:9].” The physical flood wiped out all of life, but the spiritual flood—the inundation with knowledge of G-d—will not wipe out anyone but restore us to our true reality.

References: Jerusalem Talmud, Shekalim 3:3. Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Mikvaot and Hilchot Meachim. Torah Or 8c. Chatam Sofer Niddah 70b. Igrot Kodesh vol. 16 p. 207. Likutei Sichot vol. 30 p. 16.

 

 


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