The opening verse in Parshas Noach says that “נֹ֗חַ אִ֥ישׁ צַדִּ֛יק תָּמִ֥ים הָיָ֖ה בְּדֹֽרֹתָ֑יו” “Noach was a righteous man, he was perfect in his generations”. The Midrash on this posuk (Midrash Rabba Noach, 30:8) says in the name of R’ Levi: “Whoever it is said about them ‘he was’ saw a new world.” The Midrash then enumerates five individuals, the first being Noach, citing that when he and his family exited the ark, they saw a new world.
In what sense did Noach see a new world? Obviously, it was the same Earth, although following the waters of the flood surely the surface of the Earth looked different than it did previously. And of course, the evildoers who populated the Earth previously were no longer around. But can we really say that this is what it means to see a “new world”?
The Rebbe, in the sicha of Noach 5752, clues us in to what is being implied here according to pnimiyus haTorah:
In the creation of the world, the Torah refers to Hashem using two names: YKVK and Elokim. YKVK is G-dliness that is above the world. Elokim is the name which indicates concealment, allowing independent-feeling worlds to come into existence. In the words of Tehillim: “The Sun and a shield [these are the names] YKVK [and] Elokim”. The name YKVK is the emanation of worlds, the infinite “light” of the worlds, and Elokim is the “shield” or “filter” that conceals the light in order that finite worlds can come into existence.
“That in the reality of the world as it is created via the name Elokim is revealed the name YKVK, until it is recognizable in a revealed way that “YKVK is Elokim” (הוי’ הוא האלקים), that in truth the contraction and concealment (Elokim) are really the name YKVK. הצמצום וההסתר (אלקים) הוא לאמיתתו שם הוי-ה
(Sicha Parshas Noach, 5752)
Meaning that the world is still the same world that was created via the name Elokim, only that it becomes revealed that really even this name Elokim is just a reduction of the light of YKVK, but not something independent or separate.
So the “new world” that Noach saw was not a new form of creation, but a new perception: he could now perceive how the world of Elokim is really a world of YKVK. It was recognizable and revealed to him. He saw the same world but in an entirely new way, thus he saw a “new world”.
We can use this to understand many things the Rebbe is trying to tell us in these Dvar Malchus sichos, giving us the tools to “open our eyes”, including the subject of last week’s sicha regarding “servitude to the nations”. Over there the Rebbe explains how there is servitude to the nations in the time of Golus, but that this servitude does not extend to our neshomas, nor to our bodies as regards matters of Torah and mitzvos. And even those things where we must follow the law of the land because “dina d’malchusa dina” (the law of the land is the law) is not because we are in servitude to the nations of the world, but because this is how Hashem wants it to be in the time of Golus.
In those short paragraphs, the Rebbe has opened our eyes to a “new world”: a world where there is no servitude to the nations, which is the definition of (the first period of) the Days of Moshiach! In other words, if one is in a personal Golus and in fact believes that the Jewish people is in servitude to the nations, then in fact he is in such a state, r”l. But when one internalizes what the Rebbe says there, he discovers that not only our neshomas and our bodies (as regards performing Torah and Mitzvos) are not in servitude to the nations, even those areas where we do go according to their decisions (monetary matters and the like) — this is not due to any form of “servitude” but rather it is Hashem’s will! So by following civil monetary law, we are in fact fulfilling Hashem’s will no less than in other halachic matters! Externally, it is the same Golus, but the Rebbe has given us the tools to “see through” the darkness of Golus and realize that the concealment of the name Elokim (Golus) is really coming from YKVK — a new world!
This is one example of many to be found in Chassidus in general, the Rebbe’s teachings in particular, and the Dvar Malchus sichos most especially. By making these changes in our perception and understanding of the world, we place ourselves in a state of Geulah even while the world “continues in its natural way”. This is the beginning of Yemos Hamoshiach, each one coming to the realization based on his own efforts to internalize these concepts.