Chodesh Tov to you all! Today starts a new month called Shevat.
Shevat spelled שבט means many different things. Some of them are Tribe or Clan; Rod or Scepter; to beat or strike; to clone; or to stick out. All of this is in addition to the name of 11th Hebrew month.
What does all of this mean? What is the relationship between a Tribe, a Scepter, to clone and the Hebrew Month? Let develop these ideas below.
Lets review what the Sefer Yetzirah and other Kabbalistic Teachings say about this month.
Letters of the month: Tzadi צ ץ– created the constellation Deli דלי the Hebrew word means “bucket”. The Kabbalists teach that it is a water bucket which as we will see is very positive. In the Torah, water always refers to Torah (remember, Rivka was found at a well; Jacob saw Rachel at a well; and Moshe met Tzipporah at a well). Water always refers to mercy. The Hebrew letter Tzadi has 2 forms; a regular form צ and a final form ץ (Sofit) and the sound of the name of the letter actually means Righteous.
Bet ב-- created the planet Noga which we call Venus. Venus is the only planet in our solar system that rotates clockwise – this means left to right. The letter Bet makes 2 different sounds depending upon if the letter includes a dagesh (dot in the middle of the letter). With a dageish it sounds like a B; without the dageish it sounds like a V.
The gematria of Tzaddi and Bet together is 92 or 902 (using the gematria of the final form). 92 is a very powerful number. Many know about 91 but many do not so I will explain it and how it relates to 92.
The Hebrew word Amen אמן has no meaning in Hebrew. It has been explained that it is an acronym for El Melech Neeman אל מלך נאמן . This phrase translates as God the Trustworthy King. In my opinion this is revealed as an after the fact explanation. This means that someone saw the connection between Amen and El Melech Neeman after the word Amen was used for its true meaning. The word has a meaning that is truly Awesome as we shall see.
The word Amen is said in Jewish prayers, Christian songs and prayers and in the Moslem religion as well. Almost 1/3 of the world's population says this word and for most of them it has no meaning. Amen is what one says when hearing a Hebrew Blessing. It does not make sense that people say words that have no meaning. To find the meaning we need to utilize the gematria and the numbers, 91 = 26 + 65. (In Hebrew this equation is actually Amen = Adonai + HaShem).
So now let's put Hebrew words in place of the above numbers יאהדונהי =יהוה +אדני. (an 8 letter name of God = HaShem + Adonai). Do you recognize these Hebrew Words? They are all Names of God. Adonai אדני is usually translated as My Lord. It is the same letters that spell Adoni which translates as Mister in Hebrew. The Kabbalist tells us that this is a name of God in the physical world. The Tetragrammaton יהוה ; we are told to not say this name out loud not even to whisper it. We are told instead to say Adonai even though it is not spelled anything close to the other name. The Kabbalists tells us that this is a Name of God in the Spiritual World. The third name יאהדונהי sometimes appears in printed books as יי (Yood Yood) and sometimes (especially when saying the Kadish) appears as אידהנויה. Are you confused yet?
Remember the beginning of clarity is confusion.
91 is not a number only. It is the intertwining of the Name of God in the Spiritual World with the Name of God in the Physical World. In essence it represents the unity of the spiritual and physical worlds.This combined name has 2 forms. When the light comes from above down it looks like this יאהדונהי. When the cause of the light coming down is from actions done in our physical world, as it does with the saying of the Kadish, the name looks like this אידהנויה.
When the printing press was revealed and books became less expensive to own many printer started to print Siddurs (prayer books). The practice when saying the name of God was to See the Tetragrammaton and say the name Adonai and look at the intertwined name. That is a lot of typesetting for a printer each time the name of God is used in a Siddur (which is a lot of times). So the printers shortened it to Yood Yood (יי) the first and last letter of the Intertwining. At the time everyone knew what the shortened name meant. Over the centuries that information was lost and when I asked my teacher in Hebrew School why Gods name was spelled Yood Yood I was told that is the convention (tradition).
Actually, my teacher did not know and did not want to tell me this.
Now what does 91 have to do with 92. In Hebrew Gematria there is a concept called Colel. In practice you add a one. The explanation for why is a bit more complicated. The metaphor that is used is an electrical wire that must be encased in rubber so the wire itself does not touch the ground and become grounded or useless. Another explanation is when we bring letters down to the physical world sometimes they remain connected to the upper worlds. When that happens we add a Colel to represent the connection. How do we know that the connection is still there and it is ok to add a Colel? Most modern Kabbalists will just try the number relationships with and with out a Colel. The true Kabbalists follow the rules of Colels set down by the ARI in his discussion with his student. Or one uses his intuition to know if it is still connected. A true student of Kabbalah will identify the source of his knowledge (by his intuition) that it is ok to add the Colel.
My teacher explained that it is ok to add the Colel to the Amen because we are unifying the spiritual and physical worlds when we say Amen to a Blessing. Therefore 91 is also 92.
This month is all about that unification. That is why the Astrological sign is a bucket (which is in essence a vessel) and the Kabbalists teach that it is a water bucket. Water is the physical manifestation of Chesed (Loving Kindness) in our world. So we have a sign of receiving (the bucket) fulfilled by the Sharing light of Chesed or water. In essence the unity of the physical and spiritual worlds. That is our opportunity this month! Without appreciation, that is also our potential downfall.
The two forms of the Tzaddi also relate to this issue. One form (regular) looks like a man bent over from a burden of carrying the bucket. The final form (sofit form) looks like the man is upright and fulfilled by the contents of the bucket. What will your consciousness be this month? Did Tevet make it so difficult that you can not sense the fulfillment and appreciate the gift that the Creator gives us this month?
Tribe: Asher – אשר means "pleasure" and "happiness." Our father Jacob blessed his son Asher: "from Asher comes delicious [lit. fat] bread, and he shall provide the delicacies of the king" (Genesis 49:20). From this it is evident that Asher represents the sense of taste and eating.
The special tree which Asher personifies is the olive tree, which gives the goodly oil with which Asher's portion in the land of Israel was blessed. Of the seven species of the land of Israel, the olive is the sixth, which, in Kabbalah, corresponds to the sefirah of foundation, and to the tzadik who is described in the Bible as, "tzadik, foundation of the world" (Proverbs 10:25). Olive oil represents the Light of Wisdom (Chochma) in the physical world. This is the connection to the Aquarian trait of brilliance and intuitive wisdom. Of course the other side of this coin is that the Aquarian finds it easier to look away from his family to save the world while his actual correction is to pay attention to his home life and maintain his family. We all will be exposed to this energy during the month of Shevat.
Sense: eating, taste
The rectified sense of eating is the special sense of the tzadik, as is said: "The tzadik eats to satisfy his soul" (Proverbs 13:25). This verse continues: "but the stomach of the wicked is always lacking." The soul-oriented tzadik feels "full" and happy with a little; the body-oriented wicked person never feels content. Eating from the Tree of Life, the tzadik derives great pleasure ("life" in Torah means "pleasure") from the Divine sparks of light and life force present within the food he eats. In his rectified state of consciousness he is continuously aware that "not on the [physical dimension of] bread alone does man live, but on each utterance of the mouth of God does man live."
The time of greatest pleasure in partaking of food is on the day of Shabbat. The word for "to satisfy [his soul]" (שֹׂבַע) is cognate to the word for "seven" (שֶׁבַע), alluding to the seventh day of Shabbat. A true tzadik experiences the pleasure of Shabbat the entire week (in the Zohar, the tzadik is called Shabbat). The word Shevat itself transforms to Shabbat (since the two letters tet and tav, both letters of the tongue, are phonetically interchangeable). In fact, we can experience the pleasure of Shabbat in every day of Shevat. Look at the spelling of Shevat שבט and Shabbat שבת. Know this truth, concealed within Shevat is Shabbat.
Controller: stomach [and esophagus]
The relation between the stomach and sense of eating (and taste) is clear. What is not clear is the purpose of digestion. The Kabbalists teach that digestion separates between the Holy and the mundane. In essence the nutrients that are needed for life are separated from the waste products. This is why the Kabbalists explain the Mashiach Ben Yosef will come in the month of Shevat. Mashiach Ben Yosef comes to fight the war against the other nations. In essence to keep separate the holy from the mundane.
The spiritual people from other people who perceive spirituality as secondary or not as important.
There is a prophecy that Mashiach Ben Yosef will die in this war of minds called Armageddon War. In Hebrew Gog UMaGog.
Of course this prophecy about Mashiach Ben Yoseph does not have to manifest. It is up to us to keep him (Mashiach Ben Yoseph) alive. To do this, our actions must be to bring Mashiach without war and only through the conscious process of peace.
Our sages state: "the kurkavan [espophagus] grinds." The process of grinding is essential to digestion. Dissecting the coarse food substance to fine parts is necessary in order to release the sparks of Divine lifeforce contained within the food. By "grinding" (similar to the "chewing" of the mouth) the stomach "tastes" the inner essence of the food. This inner, spiritual sense of taste controls the more external sense of taste and eating in the mouth.
Constellation: is Aquarius which is named Deli דלי in Hebrew.
This word is truly strange. It is a sign of the bucket or water bucket and yet the word dal דל means poor. Therefore we can translate the word Deli as My Poor. This refers to the Mashiach Ben Yosef. He is poor in that he is prophesied to die in the Armageddon War. Poor can also be considered as applying to all vessels. Just by being a vessel we have a lack. Even if we are fulfilled, that fulfillment can be lost either through the shrinking of the vessel or by increasing the vessel to exceed the existing fulfillment.
Holidays: The holiday of Tu BeShevat comes on the 15th of Shevat.This is one of 4 New years discussed in the Talmud. This one is the new year of Trees. A tree in Hebrew has 2 words and there are never synonyms in Hebrew. Today the usage is to translate the words the same and in usage they do not constitute a difference. The 2 words are Elan אלן and עץ Etz. Again we have to resort to gematria to understand the inner essence. Elan has a gematria of 91 just like Amen. See above. Etz has a Gematria of 160 and with the Colel which is taught by my teacher is 161. 161 is the gematria of Venake ונקה the last of the 13 attributes of mercy. It actually represents cleansing. Photosynthesis (which is mainly manifested by trees) cleans the air by transforming carbon dioxide into oxygen.
Trees have another inner essence which is manifesting the essence of restriction. In our physical world gravity represents the desire to receive for one self alone. Trees grow the highest amount of any physical item. Sometimes 400 or 500 feet. This growing against gravity is a demonstration of the desire to receive in order to share. This is an explanation as to why trees sometimes grow fruits to share with mankind. Also remember that the first 10 generations of man were vegetarians. We were not able to eat meat until after the flood of Noah. (The only reason we eat meat is to help the souls of people who reincarnate into animals as part of their correction)
It is recommended to use the 37th name of God (from the 72 Names) as a meditation during Tu B’Shvat. Both on Rosh Chodesh and on Tu B’Av (see below). The 37th name is אני. This name means I and has the essence of Ego which is good but also must be controlled. The name Anee helps us to control our Ego.
Using the letter substitution method of "parts of the mouth". The letter Aleph may be substituted for the letter Ayin. the word Anee (with an alelph) אני can be transformed into the word Anee (with an Ayin) עני. Anee with an Ayin means "a poor person". This is a tool to control the ego by remembering that the ego is always in lack always "a poor person".
The color of the month of Shevat is Blue Green.
Rosh Chodesh Shevat: This is the holiday of the New year of the Trees according to the House of Shamai (from the Talmud) while we celebrate the Holiday on the 15th day following the House of Hillel. This takes a long explanation which we do not have room here to explain. Suffice it to say. After the Mashiach the New Years of the Trees will be celebrated on the First of the month and not the 15th of the month.
2 Shevat – Hilula/Yarhzeit of Rebbe Meshulam Zusil (Zusha)
4 Shevat – Hilula/Yahrzeit of Rebbe Moshe Leib of Sassov
4 Shevat – Hilula/Yarhzeit of the Baba Sali
10 Shevat - (1950) Hilula/Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe
10 Shevat - (1051) Day on which Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn became the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe
15 Shevat - Tu Beeshvat
25 Shevat – Hilula/Yahrzeit of Rabbi Israel Salanter – Father of the modern Mussar Movement.
Other days in Shevat: We live in a generation that is fortunate to have a Tzadik that has left each of the 30 days of Shevat. It is good to connect to all of the Tzadikim that passed on a certain day. They are available to assist you in overcoming the negative energy of the month of Shevat. Remember, too much water is a flood and floods can be destructive. Here is a link to the list of Tzadikim and the day in Tevet that they chose to leave. Hilula, means a day of joy, which is the word in Hebrew used to refer to the death day or in Yiddish it is Yartzeit.
One of the tools of the Satan is to make us feel unhappy or depressed. Being happy especially in the short winter months like Shevat takes great restriction. These Tzadikim help us achieve a state of happiness when we contemplate their lives and their accomplishments in getting closer to the creator. They offer themselves to us, to use as a channel to get closer to HaShem. They can be used as a connection between our world and us and HaShem.
People will find that the spiritual tools provided by Yeshshem with their individual names intertwined within the energy sources of the 72 Names and the Book of Adam will make doing restriction easier. Here is an example of what these names are about. To receive this, one must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting a set of “Name Tools”.
Let me caution you about the month of Shevat: Kabbalistically the correction (Tikune) for people who are born in Shevat is to work on their personal relationships instead of going out to save the world as is their comfort zone. This will also be true for everyone else during the month of Shevat. We will find it difficult to deal with personal relationships and will find it necessary to practice restriction to maintain Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home).
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