Tammuz תמוז – The 4th Hebrew Month

Chodesh Tov to you all! Tammuz is a very special month as we will see as we continue to read this email. All of the Hebrew months have names that come from Babylonia. This is the understanding of the Academics who just describe physical effects.

In the Torah the months are not named except for a few and those names are not the names we use today as the main name of the month. (An example is Iyar which is called the month of Ziv). All of the Hebrew months were named by Abraham the Patriarch in the Sefer Yetzirah. The Academics deny his authorship and attribute the authorship of the Sefer Yetzirah to Rabbi Akiva.

The Kabbalists teach that Abraham being the First or the foremost Astrologer named the months in the Book of Outreach he wrote to his generation. This book consisted of 400 Chapters. This book was an experiential guide for Abraham’s generation to have a personal experience of the Creator. Due to our lack of merit these 400 chapters have been reduced to 6 chapters which were edited and reorganized by Rabbi Akiva for the coming generations.

It does not matter when the names of the months were named. If Abraham named the months or the months were named in Babylonia (Abraham’s Birthplace) 500 years later is not important. What is important is what we learn from the names.

Tammuz can be translated as “completion of Vav and Zion”. Please remember the letter Vav is the letter that is used in the month of Iyar and the letter Zion is used in the month of Sivan. So what does completion of vav and zion mean? Does it mean completion of Iyar and Sivan? Lets learn what the Sefer Yetzirah has to say before we answer these questions.

Letters of the month: Taf ת is the letter that created the planet Levanah , the planet we call Moon. We are taught that the moon represents the Malchut level of the planets and as Malchut it may have no light of its own until the coming of the Mashiach when the Moon will return to the Light level of the sun and together the Sun and moon will grow 7 times. This is paraphrasing a prophecy from Isaiah.

Chet ח is the letter that created the constellation Sartan סרטן. The word Sartan is translated as both the word Cancer and Crab. The constellation looks like a crab but why is it also called Cancer?

The Chet is formed from a Vav and a Zion with a little fragile karet house holding them together. Vav with a gematria of 6 + Zion with a gematria of 7 = 13 the number of unity. Yet the letter Chet is the name of the Hebrew word for sin implying “missing the mark”. This is the dual quality of energy in the month of Sartan. One can achieve unity and completion of the Vav and Zion which is the light of freedom and redemption manifested within the Torah or one can miss the mark and cause separation and lack of completion.

The gematria of the Chet and Taf is 408. There are two aspects of this number just as there is 2 lines that make up the Chet. One is the word Ahavat which means Love in the feminine form (אהבת). And the other is the word Chet (חת) which means broken.

When we add the Colel for each letter to bring the gematria to 410 the word for Kadosh which means Holiness during this month. This is the type of potential energy that is available during Tammuz. it takes great restriction to obtain this energy.

Constellation: The constellation has the name Sartan. Sartan means Crab but also Cancer. The Crab is a non kosher animal that lives in water. The crab is an animal that can not walk straight ahead. It must zig zag to its destination. Be careful you do not fall to that aspect of the energy during the month of Tammuz. There is a verse in Mislai that says - paraphrase - Make Straight What is crooked!

The Kabbalists teach us that the disease cancer always starts in the month of Tammuz. They also teach us that the prevention of the disease from manifesting is “Simcha” and “Chido”, Joy and Happiness. Just by being Happy and Joyful during each and every day of Tammuz (Every waking minute) we prevent the manifestation of the disease cancer within our bodies. Remember this rule “Don’t worry Be Happy” for the month of Tammuz.

Now science teaches that we have cancer cells always in our bodies but for reasons unknown to science sometimes these cells start to grow without restraint. That is what science calls the disease Cancer. Kabbalah teaches that the cause of the growing without restraint is lack of joy during this month of Tammuz. This is just some of the traits of the Cancer energy.

Holidays: There is no Holiday in the month of Tammuz. There is potentially a Holiday on the 17th of Tammuz which is the revelation of the whole of the Torah not just the Esser Debrot which is what takes places on Shavuot. Historically and energetically Moses brought down the first set of Luchot (Tablets) on the 17th day of Tammuz. This would have then manifested the opening for a Holiday. Unfortunately we built the Golden Calf on that day so the energy became mixed and therefore we celebrate it as the beginning of the most negative 3 week period of the year, as a fast day.

During the period from the 17th Day of Tammuz to the 9th of Av it is considered an extremely negative period and there are certain regulations and rituals that are recommended to follow.

Another is to not utilize natural bodies of water during this period. This means not to go swimming in rivers, lakes or oceans.

Since the negative energy intensifies during the period from Rosh Chodesh Av until the 9th of Av, we have additional rituals as well. They are:

It is recommended to not eat meat during this period except on Shabbat.

It is recommended to not shower or bathe during this period.

It is recommended to contemplate what the destruction of the Temple means in our lives and how we can remove hatred for no reason from our personality and character traits, as well as to contemplate how we can enable the rebuilding of the Temple.

Of course many people do not follow all of these recommendations. The “crying for the Temple” is the most important.

Tribe: The tribe of Reuben is the fourth of the Tribes when it comes to giving offerings at the Mishkan dedication. There is much to be learned from the Name Reuben about the characteristics of the month of Tammuz,

  • Nissan Day 4 - Tribe of Reuven.
  • It suggest you spend some time during this month checking out the attributes of the name Reuven and the Name of the Nasi who gave the dedication and his consciousness of why he gave what he gave. Remember not all of these attributes are positive and with restriction we can correct them and transform them into positive aspects.

    Sense: Sight. This sense is connected to the name Reuben since the root of the name comes from the Hebrew verb root “to see”. The Tikune of Cancer (Crab – Sartan) is to see the spiritual as the physical. It is a difficult Tikune. How does one utilize the physical sense of sight to see the spiritual Good from God? By utilizing our inner sight - our intuition to “see” spiritual cause not just physical effect.

    Controller: The right hand especially the right index finger.

    The right hand, in general, and its index finger, in particular, serves to direct and focus one's eyesight. When reading the Torah scroll, it is a custom to point at every word with a silver "finger." It is also a custom to use the right hand to make signs to indicate the cantillation nuances for the reader of the Torah.

    Also,the wedding ring is placed by the groom on the index finger of the bride's right hand. This elevates the couple to the level of consciousness referred to as "my dove" (Song of Songs 5:2), This is an intense expression of love transmitted by the never ceasing gaze of the eyes one to the other. This is also referred to as "His eyes are as doves," (Song of Songs 5:12).

    The color of the month is Orange.

    Energy Days: Rosh Chodesh and 17th day of Tammuz are considered High Energy Days.

    Other energy days are:

    2nd of Tammuz – Hilula of Rabbi Nachtman of Hordonika

    3rd of Tammuz – Hilula of the Chabad Rebbe

    17th of Tammuz – a sunrise to sunset Fast Day

    22nd of Tammuz – Hilula of Rabbi Sholomo of Karlin

    23rd of tammuz – Hilula of the Ramak Rabbi Moshe Cordovero

    29th of Tammuz – Hilula of Rashi

    Also take advantage all of the Tzadikim that left during this month of Tammuz. There is someone who left each day and they will relate to the Sephirah of that day. The more you learn about an individual Tzadik the more you can be assisted in your spiritual work by the work that the Tzadik did during his lifetime. He is making him or herself available to you. I hope you will utilize them. All you have to do is light a 25 hour candle in his or her name. Here is a link to the list of Tzadikim who left during Tammuz.

    For people who have their north node in Tammuz, there lifetime correction deals with relinquishing the pride of accomplishment that is left over from their last lifetime as a Capricorn while learning that true Mercy, Love, and Joy comes from the Home and Family.

    For all of us we can be seeing the energy of home and family in our lives. It is important this month to strive for healing and that means maintaining the equilibrium of joy even when the emotions follow a different path.

    Remember that all of our actions should be directed toward care and tolerance towards all even if we perceive that someone is striving to hurt us. Remember physical perceptions especially emotions are a form of illusion.

    There is another aspect of Cancer and Tammuz that is somewhat difficult to understand. As we will see, the Tamuz is a parasite that lives off of the human tendency to self-pity and our sense of the tragic—two sentiments that are intrinsically linked to this time of the year - the time of summer.

    To help explain this I am quoting an article from Rabbi Ginzberg of the website www.inner.org.

    The Birth of Tragedy

    None other than Maimonides (who was also one of the greatest scholars of ancient idolatry, as he himself attests) brings us the story of the Tamuz. Tamuz was a false prophet in ancient Mesopotamia who was tortured to death by a certain king. After his death, his followers concocted a tale that on the night of his death all the gods came to crown him, and then flew away the next morning. The story was turned into a play, with Tamuz playing the role of the tragic hero. This play was so popular that the prophet Ezekiel tells us that there were regular showings at one of the entrances to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem where the women of Jerusalem would watch the play and weep.

    Rashi explains that Tamuz is the name of the first of the summer months because in Aramaic it literally means “heat.” He also notes that the Tamuz idol that was placed in or near the Holy Temple was fabricated with eyes made of lead. When heated up, the idol’s eyes would shed tears of lead, which would run down its face.

    The tragic story of the prophet, the tear-jerking play, and the crying idol all lend to the air of pity and tragedy surrounding the Tamuz. But, this pity was not heartfelt. It was a cheap manipulation of the emotions and, more than anything else catered to people’s need to identify with the misfortune of others in order to alleviate their own feelings of self-pity. The tragedy of Tamuz’s life was shared by those who felt that there own lives were just one long tragic affair.

    Though today, the Tamuz as a form of idolatry is a long forgotten tale, but the sentiments of pity and tragedy that it fed upon are still as ubiquitous as they were 2500 years ago. First, it is easy to see the Tamuz as the precursor to the Greek tragedy, which to this day remains in good standing in the eyes of Western culture and a liberal education. But the similarity between the shallow manipulations of the Tamuz cult and the modern-day popularity (even worship) of atheletic and entertainment "stars" whose lives are pictured as tragic is too strong to overlook. The pity and tears shed for a figure such as Elvis, or Jim Morrison, or River Phoenix are the same as those shed for Tamuz. It is the identification with the tragedy in these modern-day icons’ lives that inspires so many people to treat them as idols and to continue the cult of tragic hero-worship. Not least among these cults is Christianity itself, which formed a religion around the tragedy of a single Jew’s life. For nearly two thousand years Christianity has fostered its followers with a morbid and bleak picture of God and of life.

    Unfortunately, even if a person does not find himself attracted to Elvis or Christianity, the sense of despair and tragedy may still be present in their psyche. Many people today suffer from the view of life as a tragedy, a view that fosters a tragic self-image. The individual that leads a tragic existence in his or her own eyes continually seeks and even expects the pity of others. When this does not happen, that person is invariably forced into self-pity and even eventually to self-worship, having chiseled out the form of Tamuz in his or her own psyche.

    The Healing Gaze

    What can we do to free ourselves from the cult of life as a tragedy? The first step is to see it for what it is—a form of shallow idolatry that cultivates a shallow approach to life’s true sorrows and pain. As the sages teach us, when a person experiences pain or sorrow it is a call from God above for soul-searching and a change in direction.

    The life-as-a-tragedy stance can be taken only when trust and faith in God’s goodness and loving-kindness has been cast away. Once these are gone, worship of the tragic becomes possible. In fact, one of the names used in the Bible for idols is simply “sadness.”

    Recognizing that depression and loss of faith in life are forms of idolatry help bring home the Biblical statement that to follow God means to “Choose life!” But to choose life, one needs to be able to see the goodness in life. This second step involves our outlook on ourselves and on others.

    The sense of the month of Tamuz is: sight. This means that the month of Tamuz is the best month of the year to learn to exercise our sight in the most positive way possible. Rectified sight involves both shying away from that which is negative (an ability associated in Kabbalah with our left eye) and training ourselves to see things in a positive light (associated with our right eye). In essence, both aspects are included in the right eye, which means that we should seek to see only the good points in others.

    What stops us from being able to see the good in others is, almost always, envy. The sages teach us that envy breeds lust and pride. If you look upon others with envy, not only are you unable to see the good in them, but you are actually increasing your own lusts and cravings for those things that are the opposite of life. In turn, greater lust leads to greater envy and the cycle constantly becomes more vicious. To heal yourself you need an expert eye doctor. According to Chassidut, the first expert eye doctor was Moses, who healed the spiritual sight of the entire Jewish people with his own qualities of selflessness and unconditional love for all Jews.

    A person who has healed his sense of sight in this sense gains the power to heal others with his gaze.

    The story is told of the greatest lover of the Jewish people in recent generations, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, (He is known as "the lover of Israel) who would pray with eyes wide open facing the street and the comer and goers. His critics charged him with immodesty, but he would not change his ways. The inner meaning of his puzzling conduct was that his kind and encouraging gaze whilst clinging to God in prayer (not concentrating at all on those outside) was enough to change people for the better.

    Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, one of Rebbe Levi Yitzhcak’s great contemporaries found this idea in the verse: “A bit more and the wicked will be no more; for you will gaze at his place, and he will be gone.” Rebbe Nachman explained that by these words, King David meant that by ignoring the wickedness in a person and by searching for the good in him or her, one’s gaze has the power to annul evil.

    This is the Jewish response to life-as-a-tragedy stance.

    The Jewish (Un)tragedy

    The 17th day of Tamuz marks the beginning of a period of three weeks of mourning over the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Yet, it would be incorrect to associate our national state of mourning with a feeling of tragedy at a national level.

    It is unfortunate that some Jews have cultivated a culture of national tragedy, not over the destruction of the Temple per se, but mostly over what they perceive as the tragic history of the Jewish people. It is even more unfortunate that this sense of Jews as tragic figures provided (and for many, continues to provide) the bedrock for the legitimacy claimed by Zionist leaders for the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. Truly, the sole and eternal legitimacy for our claim to our land is stated in the Bible very clearly: God’s oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God gave the Land of Israel to His chosen people for all eternity. To choose to perceive ourselves as the heroes of tragedy leads in the end to self-loathing and a loss of self-confidence—two of the most negative forces at work today in Israel, creating a culture that identifies with our enemies and their goals. In addition, as noted earlier, perceiving one’s existence as tragic creates an expectation of pity and compassion from others. It goes without saying that this causes other nations to shy away from us.

    Without a doubt, we the Jewish people have experienced tremendous hardship and pain throughout our history—more so perhaps than other nations. But Jewish history is anything but tragic. It is the history of hope and faith and of moral uprightness in the face of primitively immoral despots and religions, most of which have disappeared from the world. Jewish history is the ultimate anti-tragedy. It is the story of mankind’s search for the possibility of sanctifying our corporeal existence here on earth.

    Walking through the ruins of the second Temple, and faced with the pain of the oncoming exile, most of the sages wept; but not Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva, the Moses of his generation, met the disaster with a restrained joy. When asked the reason for his unexpected response, he explained that the prophets had foretold of many difficult periods in the history of our nation, and of good periods, leading in the end to the ultimate good of the true and complete redemption. He continued, “Now that I have seen that the negative has come to pass, I am certain that so will the good!”

    Rabbi Akiva epitomizes the Jewish faith and confidence in the immanence of goodness and holiness, even in the face of tremendous adversity. He passed this quality on to his student Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who founded the mystical Judaic tradition in his book the Zohar (literally, “Radiance”). Throughout the ages, the ability to see with rectified sight has been passed down through the Jewish people and specifically in the writings of Kabbalah and then Chassidut.

    May this month of Tamuz be the month in which we undertake to see the world as did all our holy teachers. By transforming our sight, we will merit to see God usher in the era of the true and complete redemption.

    As we all may say Amen!

    Remember the traits of the Cancerian is "strong emotions" and emotions change on the spot of a dime".

    This will apply to all of us from the astrological influences during Tammuz.

    Learn to be consistently Happy by using your corrected sight during the month of Tammuz to see the hand of Hashem in all of the actions we perceive"

    Chodesh Tov Chevre