And G-d said: ‘Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. And G-d called the dry land earth, and the gathering together of the waters called He seas; and G-d saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:9-10)
What is the Torah teaching us here by the proximity of water and earth on the third day? Rabbi Natan tells us (Likutei Halakhot, Yorah Deah, Sh’chita, 5) that of the four elements of creation (earth, air, water, and fire), the element of earth corresponds to emuna, as David HaMelech says, “Dwell in the land and replenish yourself with emuna” (T’hillim 37:3). The other elements — fire, air, and water — correspond to the three spheres of the mind (intelligence), chochma (wisdom), bina (understanding), and daat (knowledge).
Yeshiyahu the prophet says, “And the earth will be full of daat (the knowledge) of Hashem, as the waters cover the sea bed” (Isaiah 11:9). Both air and spirit are the same word in Hebrew, ruach, so the prophet links bina with air, when he says, “They of misguided ruach (spirit/soul) shall come to bina (understanding)” (Isaiah 29:224). Fire symbolizes the neshama (human soul), as in, “The neshama (human soul) is the flame of Hashem” (Proverbs 20:27). The Zohar notes that just as fertile earth makes things grow, so does emuna cause good character to grow.
Putting this all together, then, perfection is attained when the earth and water are joined together. Similarly, emuna (faith in Hashem, likened to earth) is strongest when it goes together with daat (knowledge, likened to water). Hence, we should all strive for a level where we can attain emuna together with knowledge of Torah. The more Torah we learn in order to know and get closer to Hashem, the more our emuna grows! Also, the stronger our emuna, the more our intellect is enhanced with holiness, so we can reach even higher levels of Torah knowledge! This is the beauty of joining Torah learning with emuna!
Based on Likutei Halakhot, by Rabbi Natan and The Garden of Knowledge, by Rabbi Shalom Arush (Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody)