The first suggestion we make is to read what we said last year about the month of Iyar. What will be said this year will build on what we said last year.
Below is the link to last three year's Blog about Iyar. Please press your back button to return to this location after you read last year's Blog.
One important fact to keep in mind: Every day in the month of Iyar is a day in which the Omer is counted. For this year that means all 4 weeks plus two days are days of the Omer, which is generally considered a negative period. There are positive days in Iyar as discussed below - yet they are few and far between.
Iyar is a very interesting month. On one hand it is a month of judgment with the Omer and other reasons, yet on the other hand it is called, Chodesh Ziv, the month of Light. The whole month is filled with light. How can it be, light and judgement seem to be complete opposites?
Unlike Nissan and Sivan where only a part of the month is in the Omer, with Iyar, the whole month is in the Omer. Iyar is considered a month of judgment. Why?
There is a lot of judgement associated with this month. Taurus is the left column of the three earth signs. It is also the second month(gevurah-judgement) in the six month cycle starting from Nissan. The planet that controls this month is Venus is the only planet that moves in a clockwise motion, from left to right, again judgement. The ox which is the symbol of this month also represents the side of judgement. The burden of judgement in this month is very heavy.
Hashem, however, is merciful and there is no sickness in the world without a cure. The cure for this month is the holiday of Lag B’ Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer and the death anniversary of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Why is this day so special and how can we connect to the holiness of this day? Also why did Rabbi Shimon pass away on this day? It is written that some Tzadikkim choose the day they are going to pass away on.
There is a story in the Zohar that describes what happened at the levayah/funeral of Rabbi Shimon. As the levayah passed through the village of Tzipori, en route to Meron, the residents of Tzipori came out with sticks, demanding that Rabbi Shimon be buried in Tzipori. They refused to let the procession continue and an argument arose between the residents of Tzipori and Meron. Suddenly the bed of Rabbi Shimon ascended into the air. Surrounded by a ring of divine fire, the coffin glided to Meron and that is where he is buried. At that moment a heavenly voice/bat kol came forth saying: “Go up and get together for the the celebration of Rabbi Shimon.”
Since then a great celebration takes place at Meron every year and this is the secret of Lag B’Omer, happiness in the middle of the Omer. Rabbi Shimon desired for us to be happy on his Yotzheit and therefore told us to gather together and be happy. He injected the energy of joy into this day. The judgment of this month starts to dissipate after Lag B’Omer.
There are many stories over the years of people who experienced incredible joy on Lag B’Omer. Everyone is happy, even though nobody knows why. Nothing has changed in people’s lives, yet they feel in their hearts that they want to rejoice at this holy place. They want to be part of this incredible joy that prevails on Rabbi Shimon’s Yotzheit.
It is very important to be happy on Lag B’Omer, especially those who merit being in Meron.
How can we be happy in today crazy world. Most of the world is scared out of their minds from the pandemic and the other half are barely holding on. Holding on is a long way away from being happy. Is happiness an unattainable goal? Is it reserved for brief periods when we do things we like? It seems that Rabbi Shimon was happy all the time even when he was in the cave for thirteen years. Connecting to Rabbi Shimon, we can tap into this deep state of happiness that Rabbi Shimon had.
Remember the following statement. It is the secret to how to attain happiness.
Happiness is an inside job.
What does this mean????
If one looks for happiness outside of themselves, they will never attain happiness. It is like looking for something that does not exist. Happiness HAS TO come from inside of us. We have to not only initiate happiness ourselves, but we have to actually feel it. The more real it becomes in our mind, the closer it starts to become a reality. Everything is dependent on the mind. Use your mind. Don’t be a robot. We have so many bad programs in our head that hold us back. Get rid of these bad habits and just be happy!!!!
We learn from Yosef haTzadik. Even when he was a slave or in jail, he was always happy because he was connected to HaShem all the time.
A person who runs to do the Mitzvot with happiness will surely be greatly rewarded. Chaim Vital writes in his introduction to Sha’ar HaMitzvot: “The root upon which everything depends is that a person engaged in a Mitzvah should not think of it as a burden which he hastens to be rid of. Rather, he should think in his mind that by fulfilling the Mitzvah he will earn thousands and thousands of gold coins, and he will thereby be extremely happy to do it.”
According to the level of joy a person feels when doing Mitzvot, he will receive the Supernal Light, which can lead to Rush HaKodesh. The Ari HaKodesh said that the he reached his high level because of his immense joy in the fulfillment of Mitzvot. A person should have a great desire to reach this level. Prayer three times a day can sometimes become a burden for people. They have families, work and other commitments that take most of their time and finding time to go to a minyan can be a big challenge. Praying quickly by oneself is an easy solution, however, if a person puts HaShem first in his life and runs to a minyan with joy, it shows where his priorities are.
Deuteronomy 28:47 states:
“because you did not serve HaShem, your G-D with joy…”
The Chatam Sofer says about this verse that HaShem’s anger is aroused when Bnei Yisrael does not serve HaShem with happiness.
The Zohar 11 on Terumah, 165a states: “Entry to Holiness is only through joy.”
The Zohar 111 on Vayikra, 11a states: “Serving HaShem with joy connects one to the Shechinah.”
Rabbi Shimon revealed a great Light (the Zohar) during his life and he is the conduit for bounty and blessing for Klal Yisrael.
Rabbi Shimon accepts every Jew as is, because he knows that he can help them change. We are totally influenced by Rabbi Shimon. Rabbi Shimon is everyone’s Rebbe, even the people on a low level, and this is the reason over half a million people go to Meron every year on Lag B’Omer, hundreds of thousands more than any other event during the year in Israel.
Many secular people go to Meron every year and if there were statistics available, I am sure there would be a fair number of these people who did Teshuvah and became observant because of their visit. They might have just come for a good party, but what they don’t realize is that the power of Rabbi Shimon brought them to his Kever to give them a boost of energy to get them to do Teshuvah. This is the incredible power of Rabbi Shimon still today, nearly two thousand years after he left the physical world. Amazing!!!!
There are certain places that are conducive to receive holiness, and Meron is one of those places. Even secular people are attracted to Meron on Lag B’Omer because Rabbi Shimon has the power to attract every Jew. It says about Rabbi Shimon, Sukkah 45, “I can free the entire world from judgements.” Rabbi Shimon said that together with King Yotam ben Uziyahu, his son Rabbi Elazar and himself, they could free the world from judgement from the beginning of time until the end of time. Rabbi Shimon’s blessings affect the entire universe.
Think about these statements for a minute. He had the power to stand up by himself for the whole world. Even Avraham Aveinu could not do this with Sdom. There is story in the Zohar where Rabbi Shimon was tested to see if he would stand up for the whole world and he passed the test.
Rabbi Shimon was unique because he was able to annul harsh decrees. But the Zohar tells us that Rabbi Shimon didn’t fast, it was his joy that annulled harsh decrees. Therefore, on his Yotzheit we also eat and celebrate. It is through this medium of Simcha/joy that we will be able to annul harsh decrees in our own lives.
On Lag B’Omer miracles happen. How??? We don’t know how, but we have to believe 100% that the same as Rabbi Shimon helped while he was alive, guaranteed he still helps Klal Yisrael today.
The antidote to the heaviness of the Omer and this month is Lag B’Omer and Rabbi Shimon. From Lag B’Omer onwards the judgement becomes easier. Weddings are held on Lag B’Omer and we are also allowed to cut our hair and listen to music after Lag B’Omer.
Many things happened on Lag B’ Omer, (Rabbi Akiva’s students stopped dying), but the one that stands out is that Rabbi Shimon revealed to his son and students the most sublime Kabbalistic secrets before his death. These secrets are part of the Zohar and are called the “Idra Zuta”. The following is written about Rabbi Shimon at the end of the Idra Zuta.
“This is a man who caused the earth to tremble, who caused kingdoms to tremble. How many prosecuting angels in the heavens are quieted today for your sake? This is Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, with whom his Master glorifies Himself daily. Blessed is his portion above and below. How many supernal treasures await him! Of him it says; ‘And you should go the end and rest, and stand up for your allotted portion at the end of the days’.”
Even the upper worlds were afraid of Rabbi Shimon. Pretty strong words, but the best part of it is he is our Rebbe and we can connect to him any time. Just call on him!!! It is written: “Whoever believes in Rabbi Shimon receives chizuk(strength) from him.” This means each and every one of us can connect to Rabbi Shimon any time regardless of our level. What a gift!!!!!!
How do we connect to Rabbi Shimon? It is very easy. Just open the Zohar and read the words. Don’t try to understand them, just read the Aramaic words. Baba Meir Abuchatzeira, the son of Baba Sali, said that we don’t have to understand what we read because our soul understands. It is obviously better to be in Meron on Lag B’Omer, but the connection to Rabbi Shimon is made through his writings, the Zohar HaKadosh. It does not matter where you are in the world, open the Zohar on Lag B’Omer and guaranteed it will be like you are with Rabbi Shimon in Meron.
The Pole Yoetz says that just reading the Aramaic in the Zohar purifies our soul. We might not know the secrets of the Zohar, but our soul does. The Zohar has the unique ability to purify us and connect us directly to Rabbi Shimon. The most sublime secrets are in the Zohar and in today’s world, everyone needs to study Zohar. It says in the portion of Noach in the Zohar, that the same as the ark was a protection for Noach, his family and the animals, in the end of times, the Zohar will be a protection shield for the people who study it. In Parashat Naso in the Zohar it says: “And because the Israelites in the future will taste from the Tree of Life, which is the book of the Zohar, they will leave the exile with mercy.”
The restrictions about studying the Zohar don’t apply today, and anyway those restrictions were for practical Kabbalah, which is a very high level, not the basic principles of how the world works. (Rabbi Abraham Azulai, over 500 years ago, annulled the restrictions). Also today science has come so far that they have proved many things that Rabbi Shimon talked about 2000 years ago. Today the study of quantum physics proves things like no time, space and motion, which the Zohar talked about 2000 years ago. Don’t miss out on the incredible secrets contained in the Zohar by not studying it.
The Zohar was so far ahead of it’s time!Today the Zohar is also available in many languages. Don’t be small minded and think you won’t understand the Zohar. If kids in high school can understand quantum physics then surely a Yid who has studied some Holy works like Gemara will be able to understand the basic principles in the Zohar. They really are not that difficult. Try it you might like it!!!
“There is no Mussar book among all the writings of Chazal, that is as elevating as the Holy Zohar,” Chazon Ish z”tl.
Anybody who uses the old excuse about restrictions on studying the Zohar, listen to what the Chofetz Chaim said about studying the Zohar: “Anybody who resists studying the Zohar, will one day, when they come to the Upper Courts after they pass away, cry that they did not study it. I am not saying that all the other books, Mishnah, Gemara etc are not important, but spend a little time studying Zohar. You will be amazed at the beautiful knowledge contained within.” He urged everyone to study the Zohar on Shabbat, even young unmarried bachurim.
Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi z”l once said: “One hour of learning the simple meaning of the Torah (Pshat) on Shabbat, is equivalent to one year of learning Pshat during the weekday, and one hour of learning sod (secrets of the Torah/Zohar) during a weekday, is like one year of learning Pshat of the Torah during the weekday.” Finally he said: “And learning one hour of sod on Shabbat is equivalent to seventy-five years of learning Pshat during the weekdays.” Wow!!!! Think about this calculation for a minute. Amazing. He also said there are numerous sources telling us that not only is it permissible to study the Zohar, but it is our obligation to study it. He started the famous Yeshiva in Yerushalayim called NaHar Shalom, which still studies Kabbalah today, 50 years later.
Harav S Buzaglo z”l (author of HaKiseh Melchior), writes that one hour of study of Zohar HaKadish is equivalent to one year of Pshat/simple meaning. He writes, “The basic reading of the Zohar, even without understanding it, is equivalent to creating entire worlds. And if one merits understanding even one small quote from the Zohar, whatever he merits to accomplish cannot be done even with one full year learning Pshat. He is guaranteed to be deserving of Olam HaBah and ultimately merit to sit in the presence of the Shechina. WOW!!!!!!!!!’
We cannot even begin to comprehend how important it is to read and study the Zohar. Words cannot describe the importance of learning the Zohar HaKadosh. The people who study the Zohar today will merit great yeshuos/salvations. Rabbi Shimon himself will recognize the merits you have brought to the world. Today there are still many people who distance themselves from learning the Zohar. Don’t be one of these people!!! Today will all the commentaries in many languages, the Zohar is available to many more people. Learn it, it is life saving. Do it!!!!
The Sefer Mikdash Melech explains that anyone who learns Zohar bring the redemption closer. The Chida in his book, Moreh Ba’Etzbah, ot 44 states: “The study of Zohar is more significant than any other study.” The Ben Ish Chai said it is advisable to study/read five pages of Zohar a day as it is a great Tikkun/correction for the soul. Everything is dependent on the study of the Zohar HaKadosh!!!
The biggest risk Klal Yisrael faces today is all the new age spiritualities that bring science to prove things that Rabbi Shimon said 2000 years ago. These spiritualities entice the young generation away from Judaism with their flashy interpretations, but the irony of it all is that the Zohar contains all the secrets of the world that these spiritualities teach.
By not pushing the study of Zohar, we take the risk of alienating the young generation when all the time we have the goods in our own religion. The Zohar is a vibrant work of beautiful Torah. Use it!!!!
As mentioned before, one way to connect to Lag B’Omer is happiness. Lag B’Omer is a very happy time and through happiness we connect to holiday. We see this with the celebration at Meron. The people are celebrating and dancing the whole night and there is a lot of happiness. The celebrating goes on till morning. No one sleeps and with the crowds of people, there was always someone celebrating.
The Maharil of Paltishan zt”l writes; “I had the merit to be in Meron on Lag B’Oner and I can’t express in words the great Simcha/happiness that was there. Fortunate are those that saw it. It was wondrous.”
The Bnei Yissaschar writes that the joy in Meron on Lag B’Omer is beyond nature. It is also important to make a Seudat Mitzvah/festive meal on Lag B’Omer.
Some interesting facts about Lag B’Omer and Rabbi Shimon.
Lag B’Omer is also connected to Purim. They always fall on the same day of the week. If Purim is about Redemption, then so is Lag B’Omer
The numerology of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is 915.
The numerology for Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai is 765
HaShem shall guard you/Yish-mar-recha HaShem, has a numerology of 915.
The numerology of Shimon ben Yochai is the same as Mechayei HaMatim, resurrection of the dead.
The verse: “Yedid Nefesh av Harachaman/ Beloved of my soul, merciful Father”, is the same gematria as Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai.
Rabbi Shimon passed away at Mincha time (late afternoon) on Shabbat, the same time Moshe, David and Yosef.
Rabbi Shimon chose Lag B’Omer to leave this world because he knew the secret of this day. In the Omer, Lag B’Omer is the thirty third day of the Omer and the corresponding Sefirah is Hod of Hod. Why is this Sefirah so important?
According to Kabbalah, all the energy(shefa) that we receive in this physical world is funneled through the Sefirah of Yesod, the ninth Sefirah, right before this world, Malchut. Yesod is like a funnel that gathers all the energy from the five Sefirot above and then sends(funnels) it down to Malchut, the physical world. Yosef HaTzadik is connected to the Sefirah of Yesod and that is what he did, he gathered all the money in the world. In theory Yesod is just a funnel and Malchut is the vessel to receive the Shefa. Therefore, in the spiritual world, Hod of Hod is the same as Malchut of Malchut in the physical world. What does this mean? In the spiritual world, Hod of Hod is Shavuot, but only in potential. We still need another seventeen days, (Tov/good in Hebrew has a numerical value of 17), to bring that potential into manifestation in the physical world. This is a very deep Kabbalistic concept and all we need to know is that Lag B’Omer is a very powerful day and this is the reason Rabbi Shimon chose this day. The same as the Torah was revealed on Shavuot, the deepest secrets of the Torah, the Kabbalah was revealed on Lag B’Omer. It is written in the Zohar that Rabbi Shimon called his students to his house on the day of his passing to reveal these secrets to them. It says that there was a ring of fire around his bed and only his son, Rabbi Elazar and his student, Rabbi Aba, who wrote down his teachings, were allowed to enter this ring of fire. This concept might be difficult for some people to grasp, but we need to remember, Rabbi Shimon was one of the greatest Tzdaikkim and he had complete control over physicality. There is a story in the Gemara that says Rabbi Shimon once heard that one of his students had gone to the big city and had become wealthy. He came back and tried to convince some of the students to leave the Yeshiva and go to the city to make money. When Rabbi Shimon heard about this, he took the students into the field, said a prayer and gold coins started raining down. He said to his students, that if they wanted to get rich they don’t have to go to the city, they could just take the gold coins, but for every one they took, they would lose a portion of their World to Come. Nobody took anything. Now I ask just one question, who can make gold coins rain down? Some people might have difficulty believing this story, but to be honest, this is one of the smallest things Rabbi Shimon did. Also everything written in the Gemara is 100% true.
Iyar is also the month of healing. The acronym for Iyar in Hebrew stands for, “for I am Hashem, your Healer”, Exodus 15:26.
In this month we can heal ourselves of any ailment we have.
The letters of this month are Pei, which is the letter that created the planet Venus and Vav which is the letter that created Iyar/Taurus. Together these two letters have a numerology of 86 which is the same as Hashem’s Name for judgement, again alluding to the aspect of judgement. In the morning prayers, just after the Shema, we have the words, “Podeinu uMatzileinu, MeiOlam Hu Shmecha.
The first letters of the first two words are Pei and Vav, which connect us to this month, and the first letters of the next three words are Mem, Hei and Shin, which is one of the seventy two names of Hashem. This combination is all about healing and connects us to this month. If you change the order of the letters, it spells Moshe.
This month is controlled by the planet Venus, which is the planet of love and the line of the Ana Becoach is the fifth line. The Sefirah of Hod is connected to this line. It is known that the Sefirah of Hod is mesugal/conducive to healing, which confirms the month being a month of Light and healing.
The Name of HaShem for this month is Yud Kei Kei Vav. The third and fourth positions have been changed around. This order is the same as with the Rabeinu Tam Tefillin, which connects us to wisdom. If we inspire ourselves this month we can attain wisdom.
The biggest trait of people born in Taurus is that they love comfort. They love their homes and are very happy to stay at home. This is one of their tikkunims(corrections). People born in Taurus need to get out of their comfort zone and move, become more involved. Being an earth sign, it is difficult for people born in this month to get up and move. The earth, gravity, pulls them down. Taureans excuse everything; themselves, others, the universe. The whole world is all good by them and they don’t like ugliness. They remain unmoved by unpleasant situations because they believe evil has no hold on them. They refuse to see the bad and will always find something good in a situation. This can be a problem because they can become insensitive to others who don’t see the world like they do. Taurean’s are very loyal and can be friends for life. They love physical possessions especially beautiful things and this fits in with their trait of being comfortable. They love to possess but will give away things easily especially to their family.
For people born in this month who are reading this, please note that these characteristics are general and if one does not have them, it only means that they may have corrected them in a previous life, or their rising sign or moon is stronger than their main sign. Also, remember each month is not only for people born in that month. Every month, every person has all the same tests. We all have to watch these traits this month.
Our work in this month is all about the counting the Omer. On the first night of Pessach we were redeemed and were able to go out from the 49 gates of impurities. This was a free gift from Hashem to get us going, but we lost this gift the next day. From then on until Shavuot we had to start earning it. How do we do that? We count the Omer. Counting is work!!! Counting the Omer purifies us so that we reach perfection on the 50th day, Shavuot. We also need to take stock of our middot(character traits) in this time and look for ways to improve.
Shavuot(the giving of the Torah) is coming. We need to worthy. During the Omer we read the Ethics of the Fathers.The reason is that we use the Tzadikkim as role models and try to learn from them how to improve. Especially Rabbi Shimon who gave us the Zohar.
The Mann also started falling on Lag B’Omer. It is a good month for parnasah/sustenance and on Lag B’Omer we can daven for big things. People born in this month can be very good in business.
The one bad thing that happened in Iyar is that Amalek attracted us in this month. The lesson is that we always have to be on guard against Amalek, which is all about doubt, Safek, the same numerology as Amalek. Today’s physical world is full of doubt with the virus. Don’t buy into it. Have certainty that HaShem will help. Use Rabbi Shimon, he is our channel. The battle against Amalek is a 24/7 struggle. It never stops. Why????
The battle against doubt is a battle inside of us and we are always thinking. Being positive all the time is very hard to do. Many times we have problems in our lives and we seem to try and solve them in our minds. When we can’t see a solution, negative thoughts creep in and soon we are full of anxiety and doubt. Try and avoid these thoughts. Chazal says that the best way to get rid of negative thoughts is to run to the Beit haMidrash and study Torah. This does not mean that you have to quickly get into your car and go to the Beit haMidrash. What it means is that when you start having negative thoughts, pick up a book and learn, read Tehillim, do a meditation or something spiritual. If we do this, HaShem will definitely help you and change your frame of mind.
Another idea about Iyar.
In Hebrew this astrological sign of this month is called Shor(Ox). Shor has a numerical value of 506. This is a special number. 506 is the numerical value of Ahavat Chinam(Love for no reason). The second Temple was destroyed because of Sinat Chinam(hatred for no reason). Love for no reason is the key to bringing the Massiach. If the Jews could get on with each other, Massiach would come today. 506 is also the numerology of the acronym of the first letters of the first line of the Ana Becoach prayer. Aleph Bet Gimmel Yud Taf Tzadi. These six letters are actually a very powerful Name of Hashem and by meditating on it, you connect straight to the Tree of Life.
There is a Halachah that says: Eisav sonei Yaacov, Eisav hates Yaacov.
What does this all mean???
In the commentaries on the portion of VaYishlach, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai says that Eisav has to hate Yaacov unless Yaacov does his work. What is this work? Yaacov and Eisav were brothers and when Yaacov came to meet Eisav, in Parasha VaYishlach, Yaacov came with unconditional love for his brother. Eisav came to kill Yaacov, he came with 400 men (there are 400 negative forces). When he encountered Yaacov, Rabbi Shimon says Eisav’s kiss was sincere. At that moment he didn't want to kill Yaacov anymore, because Yaacov's love turned his hatred around. Hate cannot stay in the same place as love. Either it gets turned around or it has to run away.
Shlomo Hamelech in Proverbs/Mishlei 27:19 states: “As in water, face answers face, so does the heart of a man to a man.”
Just like a face is reflected in water, so to are the feelings of one person reflected to another. This is a big secret and I am sure everybody has experienced this with other people. Many times one encounters a person in a bad mood and immediately feels the negative vibes the person is giving off or a person walks into a room and automatically one does not like that person.
The way to turn people around is to come to them with love. When you meet a person, send them love, think of the above combination and they will suddenly be nice to you. Use this idea and you will be amazed at the results.
Stop judging and start practicing Love for no Reason in your life and you will see miracles. When you meet people meditate in your mind to send them Love for no Reason. Their souls will feel it!!!
In this article, there are some deep Kabbalistic secrets. Some people might not be able to understand some of these concepts. If there are any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Being that this month is bathed in Light, take advantage of this and connect to the positive side of this month and let go of the judgement. See the good in people.
And remember, start reading the Zohar. One cannot fathom the reward for just reading it. Try it!!!!
Rabbi Shimon is always our lawyer and his argument to HaShem is that it is not our fault for doing bad deeds because the Yetzer Hara/evil inclination is too strong and we don’t have a chance. He could always annul harsh decrees. The Shechinah rested with Rabbi Shimon. Rabbi Shimon taught us to never lose hope. HaShem always gives us another chance.
On Lag B’Omer we have a special connection to Rabbi Shimon and a GREAT time for prayer. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!
There is a Segulah from Rabbi Shimon. He says that anyone who is involved in Kiruv/ bringing people back to Judaism, will merit all the blessings that HaShem blessed Avraham Aveinu with, who made Kiruv his life. Rabbi Shimon also says that one will merit entry into the hidden worlds and will be given 70 keys to his Master’s treasures.
Chazal say that when Rosh Chodesh is observed properly, the entire month will be like Rosh Chodesh, because when the beginning is good, everything that follows becomes good. Even though it is not an obligation to make a meal on Rosh Chodesh, making a meal with bread on is recommended. Also try and do more Mitzvot on Rosh Chodesh and definitely learn a little bit more Torah.
Have a great month.
Essay from inner.org
The month of Iyar is the month of light. Even its name, Iyar, is cognate to the Hebrew word for ‘light,’ or. In the Bible, the month of Iyar is called the month of Ziv, which also means ‘light.’
How did this month merit such a luminous name? First of all, Iyar comes to us after a long, cold, cloudy winter. The month of Nissan blazes the trail to the spring, followed by Iyar, which is all light. We thank God for the light of the sun, but it is upon us to be mindful of the spiritual light, as well. Light is a wondrous allegory for Divine revelation, God’s illumination and benevolent abundance.
The Torah is also equated to light, “For a mitzvah is a candle and Torah is light.” Proverbs 6:23 This is particularly true of the concealed, inner dimension of the Torah, the wisdom of Kabbalah of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in his book, The Zohar. This is another connection to Iyar, for Lag B’Omer, the day of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s passing, is on the 18th of Iyar. In addition, on the 14th of Iyar we commemorate the day of passing of Rabbi Meir Ba’al Ha’nes in Tiberias. The redemption is also likened to light, and at the Pesach seder we bless God for taking us out of “darkness to a great light.” In the merit of the Torah and the secrets of the Torah the redemption emerges.
chanoch adds: Know that the Zohar represents a second chance, which is important to contemplate why is a second chance need.
While all of this is very nice, the fact is that there is still much darkness in the world – hatred, wars, troubles and illnesses. Even in our own communities, the situation is far from perfect. The same is true of our interpersonal relationships and even in our relationship with ourselves. This state of affairs can make it seem like we are light-years away from the redemption.
How do we emerge from the darkness of the exile to the light of the redemption? The main rectification for this time period is love for others. The students of Rabbi Akiva died during the days of the Omer – which we count during the entire month of Iyar – because they did not act with respect toward each other. It is upon us to rectify that blemish and to fulfill Rabbi Akiva’s teaching: “Love your neighbor as yourself – that is a great principle in the Torah.” Leviticus 19:18, Sifrei ad loc, Jerusalem Talmud Nedarim 9:4.
How can we truly love our fellow man – even those who seem to be so different from us? Are we supposed to be blind and not pay attention to the distance between us and even the shortcomings and faults of others? Yes! We are supposed to be blind to those shortcomings!
Sometimes, it is good to close our eyes. This world is full of passing sights, replete with smoke and mirrors, old news, breaking news and a flood of input. It is all dizzying, blinding, confusing, superficial light. Stop! It is okay to release the tension, to step off the speeding train and relax. Close your eyes and take a look inward.
A blind person does not see superficial colors and shapes. This is specifically why he can sense something much more internal and essential. Quite a few Jewish Torah giants were blind and it was they who could sense the footsteps of Mashiach:
The Talmudic sage Rabbi Sheshet, who was blind, was the first of his colleagues to perceive when the king was coming by. It was the blind Talmudic sage Rav Yosef who declared: “May the Mashiach come and may I merit to sit in the shadow of his donkey.” (The numerical value of Rav Yosef equals ‘Mashiach’). Isaiah the Prophet says: Who is blind, but My servant? Or deaf, as My emissary whom I send? Who is blind as he who is wholehearted, and blind as God’s servant? Isaiah 42:19
God’s servant, His emissary, the Mashiach, seems blind and deaf because he is focused inward.
The blind person sees the inner light, the light of the soul and the redemption. There is a deep connection between the Hebrew words for ‘light’ = ohr - אור and ‘blind’ = iver– עור. The blind person sees the light beneath the surface. It is no coincidence that in Aramaic, a blind person is called ‘sagi nahor,’ which means ‘much light.’
This is the way to love our fellow man: We must ignore his external appearance and focus on the inner dimension that unites us, seeing the connection between all the souls of Israel. This love banishes darkness and melts estrangement and hatred.
May this be an illuminating and healthy month for all!
chanoch adds: When someone has an agenda they leave out facts that do not fit the argument. In this case the Talmud teaches that a blind person is considered dead. One reason for this is the blind person is missing the total connection to the Light. One must see both the external and the internal to be whole. The majority has been looking at the external and that means the internal need more work.
Name: Iyar/Ziv אייר - זיב
Iyar has the meaning of "breaking through of the Light." Iyar is also called Ziv which means Light or Brightness. The Name Iyar and Ziv imply great passion that is dormant and waiting for the right moment to break forth. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov teaches that the best time to collect herbs for healing is during the month of Iyar.
Iyar teaches us about "correct timing." We learn this from the Clouds of Glory who lifted to indicate time to travel in the desert. The first time that this happened was during Iyar. We also learn from the Holiday of Pesach Sheini that there is never a time that is lost that can not be regained. This hints to us about Teshuvah or "Return to HaShem." If we separate ourselves from HaShem we can always return; we just have to take the first step and persevere. That is what the Light of Iyar is about. It is the support to us no matter how difficult it appears. It will always be available to follow the process no matter how difficult it looks since the path we are on will appear comfortable.
Attribute: Thought; Thinking; Reasoning הרהור HirHur Think it through before you act is a good attribute; yet it also makes it difficult to start acting. This relates to the right timing of something. Thinking is an attribute of Binah. One needs to learn to sometimes let go of thinking and reasoning and listen to our intuition and our unconscious trying to speak to us.
Ancient Tribal Connection: Shimon שמעון Shimon is the Tribe that connects to Harsh Judgment. This comes from the idea expressed in the letters of his Name which is "Motion is my Name." This hints at reaction rather than pro action. When Levi and Shimon come together, the world can be destroyed. We must think before we act; yet Shimon does not do that. The Nasi of the Tribe of Shimon was killed by Pinchas who also did not think - Pinchas just did what was considered RIGHT. Usually human beings do what becomes wrong.
Modern Tribal Connection: Issachar יששכר Issachar has two Shins in his Name yet only one is pronounced. There is a wonderful midrash that helps us understand the why and how it relates to Iyar. Here is the midrash:
Issachar- son of Jacob was a dweller in tents who studied Torah. The Tribe of Issachar was known as the discerner of times meaning that they were knowledgeable in calculating the time of the New Moons. He is supported by his brother Zebulon. There are 2 Shins (Sins) in his name. One is silent. One reason given for the silent Shin in Yissachar’s name is that he named a son Job. Later he learned this was a disgraceful name (name of a heathen god) so he gave his son a Shin from his name and renamed him Yashuv. Hence, his name is pronounced as if it were written with only one Shin (Sin). We learn this from the difference in the Torah Verses of Genesis 46:13 and Numbers 26:24. Both deal with the Sons of Issachar yet the Names are spelled differently.
How does this help us to understand the month of Iyar? By making changes to Names after thinking the process through as described above.
Tribal Totem: Fortress or Canyon נקיק A fortress like a canyon represents shelter and protection just as the feeling of protection that comes from the Light of HaShem.
Tribal Stone: Topaz פטדה Pitadah The Topaz is described as the stone of the right side. It represents the flow of love, prosperity, blessing, gifts and healing. All of these represent the Flow of the Heart.
Tribal Herb: Onycha צפורן Tziporen This herb is related to the idea of natural noises like the sounds of the ocean waves and the sounds of birds chirping. It is actually using the same Shoresh as the word for Bird which is Tzipor. These sounds of nature are a useful tool to settle the heart and the emotions. It is a good tool to utilize during Iyar - Meditation on the flow of the sounds of nature.
House: Prosperity בית הממון Bait HaMamon Hamamon is cognate to the English word for Money. The sages have taught that money is a spiritual thing. They teach that a human being is composed of 4 aspects- Body, Soul, Mind, and Money. This is because money is truly part of someone's soul or it seems to be that way for some people who are willing to lose their lives over their money. As the Sages teach one who steals even a Prutah (coin similar to a penny) steals that person's soul. Someone who is without money can find life difficult while someone with money can find his fears difficult. This is a lesson of the thoughts of Iyar.
Zodiac Sign: Shor / Bull שור See below for information about the Zodiac sign of Shor. One hint is to realize that it is not the cow bull but the bulls of Africa. The water buffalo is an example.
Tribal Flag: for Shimon is Green ירוק with the village of Shechem. Green is a central column color. This is an indication of the true power of Judgment. Judgment when we reach perfection is also perfect. Our positive actions become positive effects in our lives and in our world. May it happen today, as we all say Amen.
Tribal Direction: West מארב Maariv The west is called "the place of blending" since it blends all essences as the Manifestation and Malchut.
Iyar is called Chodesh Ziv in the Talmud. This translates as the month of light. We also know that every day of this month is a day of Counting the Omer which is considered a negative period. How do we reconcile this Month of Light with a negative period? This is actually the true essence of the month of Iyar. There is so much metaphysical energy during this month that we are unable to see the truth, behind this energy. Our Tikune is not finished. It is not completed. Yet with this much light we "feel" that everything is accomplished. This is the danger of the month of Iyar. We must strive to see how far we are from the Light when the light appears to be so close and full.
The Hebrew word Iyar is an acronym for the phrase in Hebrew "I am HaShem your healer" אני יהוה רפאך. Iyar is spelled Aleph Yood Reish. Sometimes it is spelled with two Yoods but the spelling associated with the healing is based on the first letters of these three Hebrew letters: Aleph Yood Reish.
To begin to understand the energy of Iyar we need to understand what it means to heal. When someone becomes ill it is an indication that they have gone out of balance. That is the true definition of illness and the need for healing is to bring one back to balance. How does one bring oneself back to balance?
Balance starts with knowing who you are. What you are to do in this life and what is the spiritual work that one needs to do to bring yourself back to balance. This is not an easy task. It becomes easier when we use the tool Binding by Striking in our lives. It also becomes easier when the Light is more intense as it is during Iyar.
The tool we call Binding by Striking is a lifetime learning process and relates to the consciousness we have when we actually do any action. Our reactive consciousness is always selfish. By stopping that reaction and changing our motivation or our consciousness of why we do what we do, we cause that action to become positive. The action can be the same as what our reaction was going to be. Yet our consciousness is very different. This is a short description of Binding by Striking. It is best to listen to the recordings for Class 5 and 6 of the basic course available on the Yeshshem.com website under the "Revealed Wisdom" link. These recordings are free of charge.
Iyar is one of three months involved with the Light of the Torah. Pesach reveals the Light of the Torah without any issue of Bread of Shame. Bread of Shame is a Kabbalistic concept that relates to earning what pleasures we receive in this physical world. Light is another word for the fulfillment of our desires. When the Light of Pesach comes into the physical world during the Night of Pesach it comes "with a free lunch." The pleasure of the Seder is given to us for free without earning this pleasure. Of course, many people do not understand that the actions of the Seder are about pleasure and fulfillment and that is unfortunate. At the end of Pesach that Light of Pesach disappears. This disappearance is metaphorical since Light never disappears; it is just waiting for a vessel to receive it. During the period of the Counting of the Omer we are building our vessel in order to receive the Light of Torah/Pesach that we have earned. That is the energy of Iyar to cleanse and grow our vessels so that we can receive as much of the Light of Pesach as possible when it returns as the Light of the Torah in Sivan.
Here are the letters of the month and the Tetragrammaton Permutation for the month of Iyar.
Now let's look at the permutation of the Tetragrammaton for the month of Iyar and what we can learn.
The Tetragrammaton is normally spelled יהוה. When the Yood is in the first position. The first position is normally considered the World of Atzilut (Emanation). The second position normally has a Hey and is considered the World of Brea (Creation). The third position normally has a Vav and is considered the World of Yetzirah (Formation). The fourth position normally has a Hey and is considered the World of Assiya (Action or Manifestation).
All of these worlds in the paragraph above relate to descriptions and teachings in Kabbalah. They are metaphors to help us understand and relate to these worlds that we do not see with our physical senses.
The word that is the Tetragrammaton is actually the Hebrew verb "to be" in a conjugated form. The Yood at the beginning of a Hebrew verb indicates action. Therefore, the Name of God translates into English as "Active Being." The ultimate essence of "Active Being" is transcendent power of love and compassion without regard to people's merit.
This permutation puts the Name of God in its normal, proper, and optimal placement to provide for the maximum flow of the Beneficence of HaShem. In essence the Yood, in the World of Atzilut, allows for a concentrated point of connection to the World of Ain Sof or Endless World. The upper Hey in Beria expands to support actual birthing and Creation. The Vav then channels this energy of Creation into the final Hey in the World of Malchut which is Manifestation.
When we look at the permutation for Iyar the last two letters are reversed in comparison to the regular order of the Tetragrammaton. This means that the Vav is bringing additional energy to the world of action - our physical world. This additional energy is flowing through the Hey which represents and expansive flow over the usual flow through the Vav in the World of Yetzirah. This is the reason that the Sages teach us that the month of Iyar is the month of healing. This healing comes from this stronger flow of energy which allows us to "see" more of where we are unbalanced. Of course, this only applies to those people who are open to see the flow of energy and to realize that this healing energy is available to them and to us.
The letter Vav has two functions within the Hebrew Alef Bet. It serves as a connecting letter like the word "and" in English. The Vav also transforms the tenses of verbs. With the leading Vav the future tense becomes the past and the past tense becomes the future. We can see easily, by looking at a calendar, that Iyar connects the Omer period in Nissan to the Omer period in Sivan. These three months are connected through the Vav that created Iyar. It also created the Astrological sign of Shor which is "the bull". The nature of the bull is placid stubbornness. That is the nature of the people born in Iyar. They like their comforts and will not go out of their comfort zone no matter how uncomfortable the situation gets.
The Pey is the letter that created the planet Venus. Rabbi Shabtai Donnelo in his commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah teaches what modern science is learning- that the cloud cover on Venus makes it very difficult to see the surface of the planet. It makes it difficult to know what is happening on in the lower levels of the planet. That is also the nature of the people born in Iyar as they seem to be unaffected by what happens around them. This comes from the large energy flow through the Tetragrammaton permutation discussed above; there is so much energy that everything seems "good" when it truly is difficult. The Pey also has a Bet within the letter Pey. This concealed Bet represents the energy of Blessing. The word Pey means mouth and this is also true of the period of Iyar. The healing comes as a Blessing providing one does actions that reveal this Blessing of Healing. It starts with using the Light of the Month to truly "see" ourselves. That is the true purpose of the Counting of the Omer ritual. We use our mouths to say the Counting of the Omer and this Blessing will work for us providing we are willing to change ourselves through our introspection as part of the Counting of the Omer.
The ritual of Counting of the Omer is available
Together the two letters Pey and Vav spell the word Po which means "Here" as in a physical location. And that is the energy of the month - being in a location and being in your own physical space. The gematria of these two letters is 86 which is the gematria of the Name of God representing the attribute of Judgment.
Judgment is the Light’s request for revelation. In other words, Iyar the Month of Light is an opportunity to discover through use of our judgment, something that was previously unknown to us. A good thing to do this month is to use your own judgment in learning what has not yet been revealed to you. In that situation Judgment is not something to fear but something to pursue.
For human beings judgment is something that is usually feared. That is because judgment is actually the/a natural process of cause and effect. When one does a negative thing that becomes a negative cause which creates a negative effect. Since most actions that we humans do are negative, with the consciousness of selfishness we normally fear judgment. Yet we do not need to fear judgment when we trust in HaShem's Mercy. Mercy is the Energy of Miracles. Please learn the cosmic universal law to receive a Miracle one must go outside your normal path and comfort zone.
Our comfort zone is something that changes as our life circumstances change. If something is difficult it is outside our comfort zone. If something is easy and comfortable it is inside this zone. The zone changes as an effect of our spiritual growth. Here is an example: Yesterday it was difficult to call and talk to my mother. Today i have forgiven her and we have healed so i enjoy speaking to her. Yesterday if i called her it means i am going outside my comfort zone. Today this call is within my comfort zone and i need to do more (something outside my comfort zone) to merit a miracle in my life.
The energy of the number 86 (a number that is the gematria of the Name of God Elohim) is best expressed through two other words that have this normal gematria. One word is the Hebrew word for Nature הטבע and the other word is the Hebrew word הללו יה . Halluyah is usually translated as Praise. As can be seen by the way i spelled it in Hebrew it is also sometimes spelled with the meaning of Praise Yah or Praise God.
Do Nature and Praise of Yah appear as opposites? Or do they actually seem to be two sides of the same coin? When we remember to Praise God during the month of Iyar we then bring the natural consequence of that appreciation which is the manifestation of nature in our lives. That manifestation should be joy and happiness, yet that only occurs when we have the vessel to reveal the Light during the month of Iyar.
Another important lesson about the month of Iyar comes through the gematria of 86 which is the gematria of the 72nd Name of God. That name is מום . It is the vaccine against a Handicap or a physical ailment manifesting in our lives.
The First Holiday in Iyar is one that is usually forgotten. In the past few years due to the internet, people have begun to recognize the date but don't know what to do about it. Pesach Sheini is the name of the Holiday. This translates as Second Pesach. It applied to people in Temple Times who were impure during the Holiday of Pesach during Nissan and were unable to participate in the Pascal Sacrifice and Seder. They had a second chance to purify their lives in order by being able to do the Seder (Pascal Sacrifice) during the month of Iyar when they were no longer impure. Pesach Sheini is related to the energy of a "second chance." That is what the energy of healing provides us - a second chance. To connect to this energy just eat a square or circle of Matzah on the 14th day of Iyar during one meal. It is an easy ritual and connects us to the energy of a second chance which is something we all need.
This year the Holiday begins on the Saturday evening of May 14 2022 and concludes at sundown on Sunday May 15 2022. You will be reminded for eating matzah during the Motzei Shabbat Zohar class at 7 p.m. Pacific Time and on Sunday 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time class.
The 33rd day of the Omer which happens on the 18th of Iyar is a very powerful Holiday that is truly very misunderstood. In Israel hundreds of thousands go to Meron the burial place of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and start many bonfires and burn them all night. Some people teach that this is a day of celebration due to the ending of the fatalities of the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died during this period of the Omer. In Kabbalah we never celebrate a physical event; we are dealing with energy. The energy of this day is related to the Sefirah that is counted on that day - Hod SheBe Hod. Please note that the 24,000 students were reincarnations of the 24,000 members of the Tribe of Shimon who died during the Holocaust of Baal Peor spoken about in the Parasha of Balak.
Hod is the Malchut of the spiritual worlds connected to Zeir Anpin. Therefore, Hod Shebe Hod is Malchut of Malchut dealing with the revelation of the Torah which is being revealed 17 days from now on Mt Sinai. What this means is the energy that is available during this day is the revelation of the Torah without the limitations that exist in physicality. Of course, this energy is spiritual and is not available in the physical world yet. This is why the Sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai chose to leave the physical world on this day so that we could utilize his Light to be a channel between the spiritual and the physical worlds. The bonfires are representing that Light of this channel provided by Rabbi Shimon.
This year Lag B'Omer occurs on the evening of the May 18 and day of May 19 2022. We at Yeshshem will be having a late night study to connect to this energy starting on May 18 2022 at 8 PM Pacific Time. We will use the writings of Rabbi Shimon in the Zohar to connect to his energy as a channel to connect to the spiritual energy of Hod She BeHod. Please contact me if you want to participate in this connection by either phone or internet video conference.
It is important to note that Pesach Sheini is on Chesed SheBe Hod while Lag B'Omer is Hod SheBe Hod. What is the connection that both Holidays are involved with the Sefirah of Hod. It is important for all of humanity to start to learn and think in terms of the Sefirot since this is the language of HaShem. Why do these Holidays connect to HOD? We will speak of this on the two Holidays for those who are interested.
There are also another two days of Holiday in Iyar. There is a disagreement among the modern Rabbis whether these days should be celebrated as secular or Energy - Religious Holidays. On the evening of the 18th day of the Omer (Netzach She Be Tiferet) is a day called Memorial Day and it is a commemoration of all of the people who have died throughout the centuries Kiddush HaShem - In the Holy Name of God. The next day which is the 19th day of the Omer (Hod She Be Tiferet) is the Holiday called Yom HaAtzma'ut. This is commemorating the start of the modern Independent state of Israel.
Please review last year's discussion about the difference in the Jewish Calendar between the standard calendar and the Karraite Calendar. This does impact the date when the Modern State of Israel was declared.
As a student of Kabbalah i do not celebrate these two days as relating to the physical acts and our Kabbalistic Rabbis have not decided if these are energy days that we should try to connect to.
Every day in Iyar is considered a high energy day. Every day in Iyar is a day that we can use to cleanse ourselves in preparing for the revelation of the Torah on Shavuot.
Our Tzadikim have given us a great tool. Themselves! Their Hilulah is the opportunity to utilize their connection to the Creator to make our connection easier. The method we use is to light a Yahrzeit candle (25 hour candle) and learn about the Sage. This strengthens our connection to the Tzadik and through that connection allows us to reach the Creator more easily.
Here is the connection to the Tribe for the month and the Leader of that Tribe from our website, with information about the Nasi and the attributes dealing with this month.
The Tribe for the month of Iyar is the Tribe of Issachar.
Here are strategies to adopt for this month of Iyar that will help keep you in balance. Yet remember the most effective tool to keep you in balance for Iyar is Binding by Striking.
1. There is no coincidence. The Torah speaks extensively about what is Kosher food during the month of Iyar. It is a good idea to be aware of the energy of the food that we eat. When animals are slaughtered in a manner that is not kosher their fear and emotions cause them to dump massive amounts of adrenaline into their bodies prior to death. Then don't eat non kosher meat. When you eat are you mixing the energy of continuity (milk products) with the energy of end (slaughtered animals)?
2. Make time to connect to God. Our healing is a function of our relationship with God. Do some additional Torah study. Prayer is one manner of connecting to God. We will be starting a class on prayer and the intention and direction of that Prayer within the frame of the spiritual system during the month of Iyar. Write to me for information about the class.
3. Go outside of your spiritual comfort zone. Healing comes from God. Miracles come from us when we go outside of our comfort zones. When you start doing additional "good deeds" (called Mitzvot) that is considered "going out of your comfort zone."
4. Tzedakah Saves you from Death. Giving additional charity during Iyar is a good practice to start or continue. This is because of the relationship that comes from HaShem's Mercy in giving people the opportunity to go out of their comfort zone and receive the miracle of a spiritual court negative decree of death or other harm being rescinded. When one gives Tzedakah one is going out of their comfort zone and thereby may earn the merit to receive a rescinded decree. This is HaShem's Mercy. This is the spiritual system that HaShem set up to sweeten the periods of judgment throughout the year.
During Iyar the word healing actually means fulfillment of our desires. Someone in pain has a desire to relieve the pain. Someone who is ill has a desire to become well. Healing means your desires can be fulfilled this month. Often, we relinquish control of our lives to doctors, lawyers, and other “experts,” expecting them to heal our physical, financial, and emotional wounds, or somehow make everything well. However, true healing and fulfillment is our own responsibility. This spiritual truth is made more evident this month as the effulgent Light radiating in Iyar inspires us to seek healing and fulfillment from within.
If your lunar north node is in the Zodiac sign of Taurus your Tikune is in Taurus.
If you do not know where your north node is within your astrological chart send me your birth date and birth location and birth time to email@example.com. I will send you information on how to find your north node and your personal Tikune.
The Tikune is Taurus is one of the most difficult. By pushing away the coldness and darkness of your last lifetime as a Scorpion, you let in the light and approach the real goal of Loving your Neighbor as Yourself.
Iyar and the Astrological sign of Taurus is not an easy period; it just feels and looks easy. That is the problem. There is not a lot of overt or obvious chaos during this period like there was in Nissan. Yet that is the illusion because the process is setting up the future chaos unless you do the proactive decisions. It is easy to delay and procrastinate during Iyar because it feels like everything is okay and doing fine. Yet we need to become proactive and realize that the spiritual work we do in counting the Omer and changing ourselves is what this period of no overt chaos is all about.
Remember proactive behavior is doing Binding by Striking. Proactive behavior is stopping our reactions first. This is the spiritual work that will be difficult during Iyar because things will "feel" so comfortable.
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