The first suggestion we make is to read what we said last year about the month of Tammuz. What will be said this year will build on what we said last year.
Below is the link to last year's Blog about Tammuz. Please press your back button to return to this location after you read last year's Blog.
Please note that Tammuz and Av are essentially difficult months. Of course not all of the Days of these two months. The last 12 days of Tammuz and the first 10 days of Av are the most difficult days in the Hebrew Year. Here is a Kabbalistic explanation from the Sefardic Gaon Rabbi Monsour:
Description: Parashat Shelah: Satan and the Summer Months
The Torah in Parashat Shelah tells the distressing story of the spies, who were sent to see Eretz Yisrael and then convinced the people that they would be unable to conquer the land. Curiously, the Torah tells us that the spies were sent to Eretz Yisrael during the time of “Bikureh Anabim” – when the grapes began to ripen. This occurs in the summertime, and Hazal indeed tell us that the spies left on the 29th of Sivan, and returned forty days later, on the 8th of Av.
The question arises, why is this information significant? How does it add to our understanding of this tragic story?
The Midrash Pelia – a compendium of cryptic comments by our Sages on the Chumash – explains that the timing of the scouts’ mission is the reason why it failed. The mission ended in tragedy because it took place during the period of “Bikureh Anabim.”
The great Kabbalist Rav Shimshon of Ostropoli, who authored a commentary to the Midrash Pelia, explains that while the Satan always poses a threat to the Jewish People, its power increases during specific times of the year, including the two summer months – Tammuz and Av. Indeed, as we know, many calamities befell the Jewish Nation during these months, such as the destruction of both Bateh Mikdash. The Hebrew word “Anabim” is spelled “Ayin,” “Nun,” “Bet,” “Mem,” and the letters preceding these four letters are “Samech,” “Mem,” “Alef” and “Lamed” – which spell the name by which the Satan is called (“Sama-el”). (In truth, the word “Anabim” is written also with the letter “Yod,” but according to Kabbalistic tradition, the word is written in the “heavenly Torah” without a “Yod”; this subject requires a fuller discussion in a separate context.) On this basis, Rav Shimshon explains, we can understand the Midrash’s remark. The phrase “Bikureh Anabim” may be read to mean, “that which precedes ‘Anabim.’” The Midrash is telling us that this was a time when the Satan is given special power, and thus our evil inclination is particularly strong. Hence, the timing of this expedition is the cause of its failure, as the scouts were especially prone to succumbing to their Yeser Ha’ra (evil inclination).
This notion, that the Satan has special power during the summer months, is plainly visible even in our day. The months of Tammuz and Av generally fall during the months of July and August, which we instinctively associate with a “loose” atmosphere, and when we are all especially prone to relaxing our religious standards. This is also the time of year when modest dress becomes a particularly difficult challenge in light of the hot weather and generally laid-back atmosphere. Not coincidentally, our schools and yeshivot close down during these months, and students are left without their ordinary framework of Torah study and outside the Torah environment in which they spend their days throughout the rest of the year. All this proves the accuracy of Rav Shimshon of Astropoli’s depiction of the Satan’s unique strength during Tammuz and Av.
Moshe told the spies before they left, “Ve’hithazaktem” – “You shall be strong.” We need to be especially strong and vigilant during this time of year to maintain our religious standards and not relax our commitment to Halacha. Certainly, we are all entitled to a relaxing vacation, which often proves valuable and vitally important for our physical and emotional well being. At the same time, however, especially because of the relaxed, laid-back environment of summer, we need to take extra special care and, as Moshe instructed, to “be strong” in maintaining proper Torah standards. Recognizing the special power given to the Satan during the summer months, let us redouble our efforts to avoid improper behavior and remain faithful to our values even as we enjoy a well-deserved period of relaxation.
Ohr Chadash Website
During the month of Tamuz we begin the period called the three weeks, the time period between the fast of the 17th of Tamuz and the fast of Tisha B’Av, the ninth of Av. On the 17th of Tamuz , Moshe broke the first tablets upon seeing the golden calf, while the walls of Jerusalem during the time of the Temple were breached, leading to its destruction three weeks later on Tisha B’Av.
chanoch adds: Remember, in Kabbalah, we look to the spiritual cause and do not commemorate a historical physical event.
These two instances of breaking, mirror an even earlier event in creation, the primordial “breaking of the vessels” spoken about in Kabbalah. This archetypal event symbolizes the underlying imperfection of reality, along with our more optimistic mission to rectify reality by “lifting up the fallen sparks.” This ongoing existential tension is alluded to in the statement in the Zohar: “Weeping is wedged in my heart on this side, and joy is wedged in my heart on the other side” (Zohar 3:75a).
Another historic incident occurring in the months of Tamuz and Av is the story of the spies in the desert, who went to spy out the land of Israel and detailed in the book of Numbers. Their trip, which included the entire month of Tamuz and ended tragically upon their return on Tisha B’Av, lasted 40 days. It was on that fateful day that ten of the spies reported that they would not be able to enter the land, thus causing the people to cry to return to Egypt.
According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the “sense” of the month of Tamuz is sight, while the “sense” of the month of Av is hearing. Their faculty of sight was only able to see the land of Israel superficially. Their hearing was blemished by their listening to the evil report and accepting it at face value. It is clear that they were not seeing deep enough and their hearing lacked true discernment. From this we can learn that the rectification of the spies is to learn to see much deeper than just the surface and to understand much more deeply the implications of what we hear.
In relationships, this means to always look at the soul within a person, to empathize and see the bigger picture of each situation; to judge others favorably and to learn to constantly stand in another’s shoes. To hear what someone is really telling us between the lines, what their heart is crying out to us.
We need to see on one hand how in every broken person and situation there is the potential for true wholeness and rectification, while at the same time, beneath the superficial veneer of reality there is a broken world all around us. A Chassidic Rabbi taught: “There is no vessel as whole as a broken heart” (Degel Machaneh Efrayim on the Torah portion Vetchanan). We need to be just broken enough to feel and relate to the pain of others, but not so broken that it prevents us acting positively and forcefully to heal, mend and fix wherever we can. It is the essence of walking the tightrope of life, or as Rebbe Nachman said: “The whole world is a very narrow bridge – but the essential thing is not to be afraid” (Likutei Moharan; second section, #49).
One place where sight and hearing come together is when saying Shema Yisrael. We want so much to see truth and God, we not only close our eyes, but we cover them as well. The closer something is to us the more we have to close our eyes to see. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach taught that is why when we kiss our beloved, we intuitively close our eyes, as if to say – “I don’t want my physical eyes to blind me to the true vision of our inner love and unity.” The same applies when we say the Shema – at that moment we want to unify with God, our ultimate beloved. The hearing of the Shema is not just hearing, but understanding on a deeper soul level that the full implication of the oneness of God is not just that God is one, but that all reality is essentially one.
chanoch adds: The above two paragraphs are just touching the beginning aspect of being able to see and hear without preconceived expectations. Remember we see and hear what we expect to see and hear. This is a blockage separates us from the Truth, which is a Name, an Attribute of HaShem.
The great paradox of these months and the deeper teaching they hold for us is that both fast days were meant for great joy and accomplishment. On the 17th of Tamuz, Moses was meant to descend with the two tablets of law and begin the process of fixing the world. Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh teaches that 17 is the numerical value of the word tov, “good”. The 17th of Tamuz was the 40th day after receiving the Torah at Sinai and was intended to be the culmination of all goodness, the ultimate purpose of creation. The return of the spies after 40 days was to have been the beginning of the Jews preparing to enter the land of Israel from where they would fulfill the mission to be a “light unto the nations.”
The potential of both days was squandered and now it is left for us to restore these months to their original purpose by making the rectifications needed. We are taught that the Messiah is born on Tisha B’Av and that redemption will come out of exile, light out of darkness, joy out of sorrow. We must take current events and our own personal trials and see the deeper messages we are being sent. By attuning our inner eye to the unity and oneness of God and our inner ear to His constant messages to each one of us, we will know how to contribute what we can to creating a better world, one day at a time. There is no more important or urgent a task.
chanoch adds: the phrase one day at a time is not clear enough. we need to make a better world both one day at a time and also, equally, each and every day. The message is small steps yet frequent steps.
5780 Commentary Continued
Kabbalah of the Heart - Miriam Ribner
Each Year I approach this month with a bit of trepidation. I recommend that you also be respectful of the unique energies and opportunities of Tammuz. Kabbalah says that the months of the year are divided between Esau and Jacob. The first three months Nissan, Iyar and Sivan are given to Jacob. The next three months Tammuz, Av and Elul are given to Esau. After many spiritual battles, Jacob reclaimed part of Av and all of Elul but Tammuz is still in the domain of Esau, so the energies of the month are characteristic of Esau. The energies on full display this month are hypocrisy, anger, arrogance, war like behavior, and lust for physical pleasures.
As the gateway into the summer, from a secular perspective Tammuz is viewed frequently as a carefree time, a time to relax, travel, and have fun. According to Kabbalistic wisdom, Tammuz is a time of unique challenges and tests, particularly for the Jewish people. The most important lesson for this month is to recognize that what takes place in life this month is not what it first appears to be.
The Torah portion usually read to introduce the month of Tammuz relates the story of the spies sent to survey the land of Israel before the nation entered. Upon seeing the inhabitants of the land, the spies, with the exception of two of them, report that "We were like grasshoppers in our eyes, so we were in the eyes of their eyes." They only saw their own fear projected. They did not see things as they really were and most importantly, they forgot that the land had been promised to them by God. Ultimately, their fears and desires were fulfilled. They did not enter the land.
The healing opportunity of this month is seeing. The challenge this month is to see life as it is and not as we want or fear it to be. The question this month is "Am I seeing things as they are, or am I simply projecting my own needs, fears and desires onto a person or situation?" When people project their own fears, anger, insecurities and other unresolved unconscious feelings onto others, they are dis-empowered. It is hard to go forward in life if we are blaming others for our own weaknesses. The change in perception has to begin within ourselves. We are not responsible for the projections of others, only for our own. No one has to be confined to an old narrative of low- self esteem and insecurity. We each have been divinely given the freedom to choose life and all that is good in spite of what is taking place around us. We can always see our lives in a new and positive way that honors the highest expression of who we are in our spiritual potential.
The Divine permutation for the month of Tammuz is reversed. We expect one thing to happen, but something totally different occurs, so it is helpful to be particularly flexible this month. In Tammuz, we are tested to see through appearances. What we held as true dear and true may now be seen as false and unnecessary. It is not easy to discern what is true particularly these days when there may be distortion, misinformation and even photo-shopping to promote different narratives of reality. If necessary, internal and external structures begin to break down in Tammuz to allow the truth to be better seen. The 17th of Tammuz is commemorated with a fast to acknowledge the beginning of the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
The physical and spiritual heat of the month of Tammuz encourages us too often to make quick judgments about people and our own life situations that are based on external realities and not the truth or essence. If you are triggered emotionally and become reactive this month, this is a sign that you are not seeing the deeper truth of the situation. We frequently see things from our vantage point. We rarely see the whole picture.
When triggered, always remember to take a few deep breaths to center yourself, question your assumptions, be discerning and mindful. It is important to make "I" statements rather than accusatory "you" statements. Tammuz is ultimately a wonderful month but only if we know how to use its intense energies constructively. When we purify our seeing and are willing to see God in this world and within each of us, we grow in Tammuz in ways that may not be possible at any other time period in the year. This is the challenge and spiritual opportunity of this month.
May we each be blessed to find the peace and love inside ourselves and in our relationship with God, even when what is happening externally may not be so peaceful. May we radiate blessings of calm, love and peace to everyone we meet and contribute to bringing forth the peace and love that we and others are yearning for.
(This Tammuz message is composed primarily from my out of print book Kabbalah Month by Month published in 2002. The Tammuz message seems particularly relevant this year)
"There was much opposition to Chassidism in its formative years. An opponent of Chassidism had heard many amazing claims about the Chernobyl rebbe and wanted to meet this rebbe himself to see if there was any validity to what his followers said about him. He understood that followers see their rebbe as a wondrous being, an angel, an intermediary, but he assumed this was just wishful thinking on the part of simple people.
He traveled to see the rebbe and had the privilege of sitting at the table with the rebbe for a meal. As he watched the rebbe eat, he did not see anything extraordinary. With the food falling out of the rebbe's month onto his beard gave the impression that the rebbe did not even have the manners of a cultured person. He was ready to dismiss the rebbe and all the claims he had heard about him, yet he stopped himself.
He excused himself from the table, went to the corner, and prayed to God. "Master of the Universe, please let my eyes be open to see the truth of what is. Please let me see the essence of the rebbe and not the external realities."
When he returned to the table, he now saw that the rebbe was shining from one corner of the world to the another. The rebbe was indeed a great light. his eyes had been purified through prayer so he could see the hidden truth."
So let us remember during the course of this month before becoming reactive or passing judgments on others or even ourselves, take a few moments to breathe, to feel our own feelings, open our hearts and pray for divine assistance and clarity to see ourselves and others as we really are.
May we ALL be blessed with good eyes to see God in everything that is taking place in our lives and in the world today. Love and blessings to all. As we all say Amen
This year is unusual as can readily be discerned. On Rosh Chodesh Tammuz we enter a 45 day period that culminates to Tu B'Av; which begins another 45 day period that culminates on Rosh HaShanah. Essentially a 2 step process of 91 days. The students of Kabbalah know that 91 is a connection to the Hebrew word Amen and its Kavenah of Unifying the Spiritual with the Physical.
Rabbi Alon Anavah is calling for a 40 day Tikune or rectification to sweeten this period of judgment the world is experiencing. It consists of the following spiritual actions:
Join with His Minyan in Israel through a verbal statement prior to your prayers.
Pray more often each day up to 4 times per day. This is Morning - Afternoon - Evening - Night time Shema plus Blessings Before and after Meals at least 1 time per day preferably many times per day.
Taanit Debur - Fasts of Words Many Times During These Periods.
Stop saying Loshon Hara
Say Tikun Chacali Daily
Say Perek Shirah
Additional Items to be added
These actions are tikunim not Teshuvah. It is a preparation towards the second 45 day period which is a Teshuvah Period.
Most Items are available on the Yeshshem website.
We are entering Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, mazal Sartan; the new moon of the month of Tammuz, sign of Cancer. It is known that Cancerians are toasted with great imagination, they are also quite caring and much intuitive and sentimental people; on the other hand, when these features are not well worked-out, it can drag them to over-suffering and draining that can bring worrisome unhealthy outcomes at all levels, including the physical. The motto to get armored of such a situation may be the old good "don't worry be happy". It is also known that like the crab, Cancerians live inside a strong car apace and have a strong piercing claw to defend themselves from any 'menace' they feel coming their way; it is so because their essence is actually very soft and thus they suffer a lot with what they consider as indifference and all it encompasses, mainly within family and closest relationships. Another strong feature of this maternal sign is a melancholic longing for past times. Diametrically opposed to the sign of Cancer is the sign of Capricorn. This axis Cancer-Capricorn is considered as the axis of the present, for Cancer and its focus on 'how good was in the past' and Capricorn with its focus on 'how good will be in the future', complement each other. This means that both signs must find balance and have more faith and certainty in order to fully live the present that is the outcome of the experiences of a past already gone, plus a future that is already coming all the time (remembering that everybody has all signs spread on the natal chart and is in some way under the influence of the sign of the month). Chodesh Tammuz Tov to all of us!
" The divine permutation for the month is reversed. Tammuz can be a time of reversals. We expect one thing to happen but something totally different happens. As much as we may like to think we are in control of our lives, we need to realize our limitations, let go and invite God into our lives. This is one of the deep teachings of this month.
"As hard as it may be, we must realize that whatever happens to us can be an opportunity for growth and healing. We grow the most when confronting our greatest challenges. Tammuz is a month of judgement; we need to accept that nothing is accidental or coincidental. Through we have free will, everything is also divine providence.
" The astrological sign for Tammuz is Cancer. The Hebrew word for cancer is sartan, which means " Satan" a name that reveals the difficulty of the tests of this month. The ruling body of Cancer is the moon. The moon is always changing, making Tammuz an emotional time with many ups and downs. One has to learn to ride the emotional roller coaster of Tammuz. "
How do we grow through our challenges and tests? How do we see God amidst all the turmoil? These are questions we must be mindful of during this month. According to this month, the fixing of this month is seeing. In last week's Torah portion we read about the spies. Upon seeing the inhabitants of the land of Israel, the spies, with the exception of two of them, report that " we were like grasshoppers in our eyes and so we were in the eyes of their eyes" (Numbers 13:33). The ten spies only saw their fear projected. They failed to see the opportunities for growth available in the challenge of entering the land. Most importantly, they forgot that the land had been promised to them by God. Ultimately, their fears were fulfilled. They never entered the land of Israel.They were punished for discouraging others from entering the land.
Name: Tammuz תמוז
The Meaning of Tammuz
Tammuz translates as completeness of strength or completely adamant. Tam means complete. Az or Oz means strength or tenacity as in being unwavering in one's power. Tam also translates as simple as in innocent, meaning meandering through life, sitting back and allowing life to go on without much of our participation. Simplicity is incidental. Booze or trap also translates as stubborn. It is also the month when the great flood in Noah's time began to subside and the tops of the highest mountains first became visible.
This is a month that commemorates the beginning of the end, the fateful assault on Jerusalem by the Babylonians. This event eventually brought down the first Temple, exiled our prophets in many of our tribes and destroyed the first Jewish Commonwealth about 2600 years ago. It is also believed to be the beginning of the siege around Jerusalem 500 years later that led to the destruction of the second Temple and the second Jewish Commonwealth- this time by the Romans. These claims of events began on the 17th of the Tammuz. In other words, they occurred after the moon had reached its fullness and had begun to wane. This strengthens our connection to tenaciousness and this certainly brings one closer to completeness, to accomplishment. The lesson of Tammuz is about maintaining consistency, not allowing the power you have brought forth to relax, to wane, to slip away by stepping back from its continuance. When we sit back in the simple faith that we've done enough put in enough effort, and our vision or goal will now take on a life of its own and continue to evolve-the walls around us begin to tremble, tumble, and the invasion of failure and downfall meets us instead.
Likewise, as a people we grew too comfortable, became overly bureaucratic, excessively structured with monarchs, temples with rituals, and our life force as a nation began to slowly ebb and lose momentum. Our prophets cried to us in the streets, warning us, trying to wake us out of our slumber, but we paid them no mind. Everything was fine the way it was. Simplicity set in, naïveté took us over and eventually callousness. And there we remained with the same tenacious as that which has once given us the strength to become a nation of God wrestlers-the very meaning of Yisrael. And eventually the outside world overtook us and carried us away in chains.
The moon of Tammuz is the beginning of the period during which the night begins to borrow from the day-darkness partakes of light, tragedy reaches into the coffers of hope and draws on faith. As bleak as it is in times of having this, Tammuz teaches us to use the darkness to discover the light. In the light the ancient ones reminded us one cannot see what is in the darkness. In the darkness however, one can see into the light. If you are standing in the dark you can easily see what is going on outside of whatever that is lit up; where as if you were in a lit up home looking out your window at night, you would not be able to see what is going on outside.
Tammuz is also the moon during which the golden calf was constructed and worshiped. In other words, Tammuz, like its meaning, is a moon that exudes both empowerment and simplicity, tenaciousness and completeness; we can choose to use our strengths, our power, towards completeness, toward purpose, or we can use that tenacity to remain in the state of complacency. We can direct our powers towards building the holy Temple and shattering the golden calf, or building the golden calf and shattering the holy Temple Chas V'Shalom.
Tammuz is the month when the sun is at its hottest, the beginning of seasonal shifting from the place of balance. Prior to this moon the days have been as long as the nights. This has been for a while that it is not too hot, not too cold; it is all in balance. With the arrival of Tammuz however, the days become more intense. The days become longer than the nights. In other words, it is a time of shifting away from the place of balance, which in turn can lead to confusion, and vulnerability, both individually and collectively.
The ancients reminded us however, that in the very whirlwind of confusion and in this place of imbalance, we can discover the greatest gifts, and claim our highest powers if we but pushed through the impediments.
The Eagle, Moses reminds us over 3300 years ago, teaches its chicks to discover their own strength and capacity by stirring the nest so that they fall out. And while falling toward their possibly tragic deaths, they flap their wings desperately and, in their struggle, discover excitedly they can fly. In their greatest moment of vulnerability and weakness, they discover their power and independence.
During Tammuz, the ancients taught, God calls out in a resounding, vibrational sound that is inaudible to mortals, a sound that summons the deepest recesses of our powers. This divine call delivers courage to those parts of us that are afraid-even to those animals that live in fear of predators-call for courage and stamina. Like Rabbi Nachman of Breslov teaches: Within the very obstacles that prevent you from discovering God, is precisely where God waits to be discovered. Tammuz is an incredible challenge, and equally an incredible opportunity.
Attribute: Vision ראיה Re'Ehyah to appreciate the gift of what comes to us and not be intimidated by it. To become a true seeker of spirituality, someone who will open the door to the spiritual worlds, we need clarity of vision, the capacity to see beyond the way in which we are accustomed to seeing-to see beyond the way something appears to be, to look deeper into the literal experience to discover the mystery that it conceals. That way we do not lose faith or hope in the face of that which seeks to intimidate us, to block us. We will then be able to clear the whirlwind swords of fire being waved in front of us by the Cherubs as we strive to make our way back to the Tree of Life. After all, balance is the path to the Tree of Life. The word Cherub comes from the root that is rooted in the word for closeness, nearness, approachability the very things that seem to keep us distant are the very things that at the same time dare us to approach.
Ancient Tribal Connection: Yehudah יהודה The tribal archetype for Tammuz is Yehudah which means appreciating what God brings us whether trials or gifts. Both are welcome. Of course we usually appreciate the gifts rather than the trials. Learning to be certain that both come from HaShem is a tremendous growth in spiritual consciousness. This is the essence of the meaning behind Judaism. It is about always being grateful even for what we don't yet understand-an appreciation born out of certainty trust and faith.
Judah's mother Leah is unhappy about her husband's lack of appreciation of her, his attention being mostly focused on her sister Rachel. She names her first three sons based on her agony, but when she gives birth to her fourth son Yehudah, she exclaims this time, "I simply thank God." She has pushed through the obstacles to claim her own power, and discovered joy within herself as opposed to seeking it elsewhere or hoping it would come from someone else.
Yehudah is not only elected to lead his brothers, including the three that are older than him. He is also designated as the ancestral lineage carrier of the Messiah. He is fierce like a lion, yet humble in his demeanor. When he errs, he is not afraid of openly admitting his guilt, a trait that trickles down through the ages to his descendant David, who confesses and owns responsibility for his illicit union with Bat Shevah and his involvement in the demise of her husband Uriah. Yehudah then, is an archetype that combines ferocity, honesty and humility.
Modern Tribal Connection: Reuven or Reuben רובן Leah explained, upon seeing her first born, "See, A son." This is the meaning of the Tribe of Reuben. This is why the Kabbalists teach us that the "missing" tribe of Reuben is somewhere in China. The Chinese have a significant bias towards male children as a cultural inheritance. There is much to learn from the Tribe of Reuven as indicated in the section below the Ancient Wisdom Sections.
Tribal Totem: Aryeh or Lion אריה The totem of the tribe of Yehudah and the moon of Tammuz is Lion. Its basic quality is warrior, with the wisdom to know when to use one's full power and when to hold back from using one's full power. The lion, like the divine light, walks in balance between the extremes, between fierceness and being overpowering. This is why in Hebrew we call lion Aryeh which is two words OHR meaning light and Yah which meaning God. Thus, the translation is the God of light. The God light, like the lion is both fierce and overpowering as well as healing and nurturing, depending on what is called for in the circumstance in the moment. The lion is also the sacred keeper of the East, the place of new beginnings, the very same direction whose charge was assigned the tribe Yehudah during the desert journey. East in Hebrew is Mizrach which implies shining, as East is where the sun begins to shine across the planet. It is also called Kedem which implies beginning. New beginnings always required us to ring forth our deepest warrior instincts. New beginnings are often intimidating, scary, exciting, fun, all at the same time.
The lion is also patient and playful, frolicking with young cubs and enduring impatiently their playful swipes and climbing. But when threatened, or needing to hunt prey to sustain the family, the lion shifts to become the warrior. The completed Warrior is the one who is fierce in the battlefield and a gentle kitten at home.
Tribal Stone: Emerald נפך BoRecket The stone associated with Tammuz and also the tribe of Judah is Nofach which translates as turquoise, whose quality is strength and victory in times of struggle, related to the word path which means a burning ember. It is about endurance, keeping the inner fire burning, and the passion to overcome, to see things through to its climax, to its ultimate realization.
Tribal Herb: Frankincense/Galbonah לבונה
The herb associated with Tammuz is frankincense which lives on almost everything. In its original state frankincense seems to be in a state of potentiality. It is the dream before it is realized. It is all the colors before they are manifested, before they are individuated. It is like the ray of sun that is light white color which is then translated by the mist of rainfall into many different colors, individuated. Frankincense reminds us that everything is one but not the same. It carries the power of individuation, of bringing forth the unity of diversity, and the diverse list of unity in the blood. In the blend of the sacred incense offering it is the blending of elements, magically blending all the qualities of all the other plants into a singular mix where a single aroma is created, a single stream of smoke, yet without overwriting the individual quality of each plant. Paradoxical, or magical? Or both?
House: Ancestors בית האבות Bait HaAchim
The house associated with Tammuz is Beit HaAvot which is the house of the ancestors. To live in the house of the ancestors demands that we rise to the occasion of becoming ancestors ourselves not only living in the shadows of those came before us, but also becoming the shadows for those who will come after us.
Living in the house of ancestors requires us to take stock of ourselves, keep trying, not be overridden by our failures, but to focus on and build upon our achievements, our talents, our unique selves. All of our ancestors the Torah shows us had their moments of failure, of falling, but never did they allow those follies to stop them dead in their tracks. They moved on. They moved through it all. They got up and thereby became ancestors, models, exemplifying to us how to walk through blizzards, traverse storms, and rise up like the Phoenix from out of the ashes, again and again.
The shadow moon for Tammuz is to Tevet whose house is the house of sovereignty which is about control, wielding one's presence and power over others. This is the challenge to the visionary, to the archetype of the lion, the lawyer-to know when to pull back so as not to overwhelm others with their power and clarity. Because being a lawyer means also to know when to be silent even when one has more clarity about a situation than others and to know when to step back and allow others to figure things out, make their mistakes, or hopefully, shine, and discover their own powers and greatness.
Zodiac Sign: Sartan/Crab סרטן This is the drama of our emerging from mother water to find our own balance, our own independence, our own selfhood. The crab moves from sea to land, from the womb of newness to the daring adventure of engaging newness, leaving the sea for dry land, and dry land for the sea, transitioning interchangeably from spirituality to physicality. The crab then reminds us of the oneness of both and the equal need and importance of both in our lives. Water represents spirituality; Earth represents physicality.
Crab teaches us the sanctity of merging the two realities into our everyday lives, spirit and matter, body and soul, and not to live exclusively in one or the other but in both at the same time. Judaism brings this important lesson home to us through our rituals, including our seasonal celebrations, all of which are spiritual in intention and physical in implementation. For example, we celebrate Sukkot with special sacred rights, but also with special feasting and physical joy, as it is written in the Torah, "and you shall rejoice in your seasonal rights to be happy."
The positive side of the Crab is expressed above. The negative side is the Crab is constantly reacting to his fears and staying at home. Also, the Crab can not walk straight ahead but must move to the side. This is the nature of the human crab also.
Tribal Flag: Image of an Oracle כחול Sky blue with the image of a Lion
Tribal Direction: East קדם Shining as this is where the sun begins its journey and brightens up the sky.
This year there are the following Parashiot that will be read from the Torah Scroll during the month of Tammuz:
While we do not read Korach during the month of Tammuz i left the information available to read from this blog since the ideas of the natural disasters being controlled by man is important to learn and utilize in our lives. Also, since the 3 negative weeks start in Tammuz and we are warned to stay away from natural bodies of water which relate to the formation of many natural disasters like Tsunami and Hurricanes and the like.
Parasha Korach - This essence allows us to control earthquakes and other natural disasters. Here are links to understand this more fully.
Parasha Chukat - Removing Death and using the tool of Mind Over Matter.
Parasha Balak- The vaccine against Uncertainty or Elevating your connection to Certainty and removing Doubts. Another name for this is Warring Against Amalek.
5774 we are adding the concept of the Vaccine against Evil Eye and Evil Speech.
Parasha Pinchas- Manifesting Healing into your Life
Parasha Matot-Masei- Journeying through the Universes.
Each Parasha relates to the energy of Tammuz and by recognizing these Parashiot and its relationship to the Month will enhance your ability to control the energy on Rosh Chodesh.
The essence of this month is expressed in its Name. Tammuz has no direct meaning because it is composed of the Shoresh (root) Tam spelled תם and the two letters Vav (ו) and Zion (ז). Tam means completion. It also means innocent, simple, naive, and harmless. We will discuss how each of these terms impacts the energy of Tammuz in the next few paragraphs.
The Vav and the Zion are the letters that created the Astrological sign of Taurus and Gemini. These are the previous two Hebrew months. They also represent the majority of the period of the Omer, which if we remember is a period of Tikune or Rectification of personality traits.
The gematria of the Vav = 6; the gematria of the Zion = 7. Together the total is 13 which is the gematria of the word Echad. Echad means one or unity. One way of understanding the energy of Tammuz is we have the potential to complete the unification. To what unification are we referring? Let's see below!
Added for 5774
We need to also realize that the letter Chet is formed from a Vav and a Zion by the Scribe when writing a Torah Scroll. The Chet is a letter that is cognate to the Hebrew word for Sin. The Chet is formed when the Scribe adds a carrot house above the two letters connecting the Zion to the Vav. The completion of the Vav and Zion is created when all of the sins/mistakes are corrected through Teshuvah.
The months of the Hebrew year are connected to the Tetragrammaton. The Kabbalists teach that Tammuz connected to the upper Hey. In Kabbalah the upper Hey represents Binah also called Emma or Mother. The Mother gives birth to all of the six attributes of Zeir Anpin. She represents the seed level for these six attributes. The Kabbalists teach that these attributes are the emotive passions or emotions.
This is the essence of the month of Tammuz. It is the unification of the Yood and the Hey which spell the Name Yah. The external aspect of our mothers is Mother Love - Love for her children. That is the nature of the month of Tammuz, unifying our mind and body by controlling our emotions. Emotions are the hardest thing to control. They are the root of our reactive natures. When we learn to control our emotions, we achieve complete unification of all of the worlds. That is the opportunity during this month of Tammuz. When we control our character traits as we worked upon during the Omer period, we essentially learn to control our emotions.
Here are the letters of the month and the Tetragrammaton Permutation for the month of Tammuz
The Tetragrammaton permutation comes from the last letters of four words in the Scroll of Esther Chapter 5 Verse 13. Here are the four words זה איננו שוה לי . The word for word translation is "this;" "our nothing;" "to be like;" "to me." The fact that this permutation is coming from the last letters of these words indicate that the month of Tammuz is within the frame of judgment.
Now let's look at the permutation of the Tetragrammaton for the month of Tammuz 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 Assiyah (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 normal permutation which is used in the month of Nissan 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 Tammuz, we see the Tetragrammaton is in exact reverse of the normal order. Instead of the Yood being the point to draw from the Ain Sof, we have a larger vessel which may bring too much energy. The Vav in the second position now channels this additional energy to the Hey in the third position, which may find itself too small for this much energy. Finally, the Yood in the Malchut position is ill prepared to manifest this energy.
In essence the month of Tammuz is not a good time to be doing. It is a month of feeling. It is month better suited to learning to control our out of control passions and emotions.
The letter Chet is also a word that can be spelled Chet Yood Tav. It is cognate to the Hebrew word for "missing the mark" or "sin" (please do not think of this as the western civilization's understanding of the word sin). The Chet created the constellation Sartan in Hebrew (סרטן). This word is translated as both a crab and the astrological sign called cancer-including a disease called cancer.
Make no mistake; there is a very direct relationship between the sign of cancer and the disease of cancer. The Kabbalists teach that all effects of the disease start during the month of cancer. They may be too small for our modern technology (X-Rays, Cat Scan, MRI and the like) to see it; yet all tumors begin during this month. The Kabbalists also give us a simple tool to avoid this manifestation of the disease during this month. The Kabbalists tell us to be happy no matter what we are feeling. (This is the beginning of controlling our emotions). You feel reactive and angry...Be Happy; You feel sad and alone...Be Happy. This is a simple tool yet not a tool that is easy to manifest, and that is why we have this plague called cancer in our generation. The major Tikune for all of us is to remove Hatred (an emotion) for no reason. When we decide to be happy and then manifest happiness during this month we are going against our selfish desire to receive. Please be happy during this month.
The Tav is the letter that created the moon. The moon is a metaphor for female since visually the moon goes through cycles. New moon, first phase, full moon, last phase and returns to a new moon. The Light does not change. The vessel is constantly changing as it strives to get closer (meaning more like the Light) to the Light. This is the root cause of the connection to emotion during this month of Cancer.
Here is a very important tool to help you modify your emotion and remain Happy during the month of Tammuz. Cancer is a code word for Desire to Receive for Oneself Alone. Since we know that the disease is manifesting during this month as a demonstration of our selfish desire, all we have to do is remember to remain happy no matter what we feel like and there can be no disease manifesting in our life. Also, the Tetragrammaton being in reverse order makes it easier to REVERSE OUR EMOTIONS BACK to HAPPINESS.
Together the two letters Chet and Tav have a Gematria of 408. Other words with this gematria demonstrate the relation to cycles and emotions. Chait spelled Chet Tav means fear or dread along with terrified or broken. The word Ahavat (gematria 408) means love. SheChek (also with gematria 408) means laughter and joy. Nechasim (gematria of 408) means snakes as well as sorcery. When we transform the Snake into a positive helper we are transforming Hate (the essence of the Snake) into Love. As one can see all of the words with this gematria presented here are dealing with emotions both positive and negative. This is why the month of Tammuz has two aspects, its positive aspect from Rosh Chodesh through the 16th, and its negative aspect from the 17th (Tov or good in its reversed form) through the end of the month.
There is one other word that has a gematria of 408 that reveals the positive aspect of Tammuz. It is the word Zot spelled Zion Aleph Tav. The meaning of this word is This. We say/sing this word when we remove the Torah from the Ark on Shabbat Morning (Zot HaTorah). The Kabbalists teach us that the letter Zion in Zot represents Zeir Anpin or the Spiritual World and the letters Aleph and Tav represent all of the energy of the Hebrew Alef Bet which is a metaphor for all of the endless vessel, culminating in the physical world. Zot therefore means a unity between the spiritual and physical worlds. This is why the 17th of Tammuz was intended to manifest the end of death in our world, but due to the Golden Calf we got this wrong one more time. Yet the universe promises us another opportunity. Are you getting ready for this event? It is called the "Coming of Mashiach!"
The only Holiday in Tammuz is the 17th day. Had there not been a Golden Calf incident this would have been the day that Mashiach would have manifested in the world. Moshe would have revealed himself as the Mashiach according to the Sages and Death would have been swallowed up forever. What a Happy Day. This energy is still available to us. That is potentially why it is a day of fasting that commences the most negative three weeks of the year. These are the three weeks from the 17th of Tammuz to the 9th of Av culminating in the Holiday of Tisha B'Av.
The Jewish World fasts on the 17th day of Tammuz as a sign of mourning while the Kabbalists fast on the 17th day of Tammuz as a way of elevating so that they can connect to the energy of Mashiach. We recommend that you remain happy during this fast so as to connect to Mashiach.
Rabbi Isaac Luria has given us a very important meditation so that we can handle the energy in the universe during these three weeks.
The energy days of Tammuz are Rosh Chodesh which this year has two days of Rosh Chodesh and the 17th day of Tammuz. There are also many very high souls and Tzadikim who left during the month of Tammuz for the sole purpose of helping us during this difficult period. It is extremely helpful to mention their Name on the Day of their Hilulah.
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.
It is recommended that one mentions the Names of the Tzadikim every evening at the start of your evening prayer connection or just prior to going to sleep each evening.
Here are the connections 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 Tammuz is the
Here are strategies to adopt for this month of Tammuz that will help keep you in control of your emotions. Yet Remember the most effective tool to keep you in emotional control is Binding by Striking especially step one, STOPPING YOUR REACTION.
1. Act Consciously: Whenever something happens that we experience we are reactive. If we stop this reaction, we are bringing our unconscious selfish reaction to the level of our consciousness. This is what is meant by "act consciously." Think before you act. During this month we will be exposed to deep intense and varying feelings and emotions. We need to learn the unconscious motivation behind these emotions. This is a month to control our feelings not a time to re-act.
2. This is a month to strengthen our Hitbodeduth (translated usually as meditation, yet it also has the meaning of "retreat within oneself"). The universe is supporting our internal investigation into our emotional motivations. Use this energy to retreat into yourself. Use the words of the Sages and the Tanach to promote this "retreat."
3. Stay at Home: The universe supports the idea of staying home rather than going out traveling during this period. In fact, the Kabbalists tell us to stay away from natural bodies of water. The reason behind this has to do with the energy of the month. Tammuz is a time of judgment. Water is a channel for the energy of Chesed. The negative system would like nothing better than to use water to manifest judgment. This corrupts the effect of water in the world. This actually occurred during Noah's Flood. This is why it is important to say a Blessing prior to drinking water as the Blessing reverts the water to its essence prior to the corruption caused by the Flood. There is also a process of returning water to its pre-flood state given to us by the Kabbalists. Unfortunately this has not yet been translated into English.
The crab is a shellfish that is not capable of moving directly forward. During this month the energy will tend to push us to not be straight forward in our dealings. This can come from our fears. Like the child who is afraid to admit he did something wrong and tells a lie even when he knows the lie will be discovered.
The crab also is covered with a hard shell. It protects itself by withdrawing into its shell so that the other fishes can not access the crab itself. It is very vulnerable when it loses it shell. Since the shell is hard there is no room to grow. The crab loses its shell as it grows. When this happens the crab has to find a place to hide. The crab hides in caves and under rocks. We hide in our homes.
This is a month of growth and if one does not have the shell one becomes very vulnerable. This is the reason we recommend staying home since the energy of the month does not support exposing our vulnerabilities through actions but evaluating and changing ourselves to remove these vulnerabilities.
If your lunar north node is in the Zodiac sign of Cancer or Crab, your Tikune is in Sartan or Cancer in Hebrew.
If you do not know where your north node is within your astrological chart send me your birth date birth location and birth time to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will send you information on how to find your north node and your personal Tikune.
In the words of the Kabbalah Center:
The person with a tikune in Cancer carries an enormous amount of pride left over from a previous incarnation as a Capricorn. As a Capricorn, you were totally obsessed with professional victory, honor, and respectability. Bolstering your own reputation was the main motivation of your life. You undertook impossible tasks, if only to gain the admiration of others. You appointed yourself judge and jury and, as a consequence, condemned the mistakes committed by others.
Though you saw yourself as a guardian of the moral order, you neglected morality’s most important attribute—mercy. As a result, you have not forged many friendships and have often been considered a shameless opportunist. This drive to achieve overwhelmed you with excessive responsibilities that prevented you from thinking of others. Consumed by social missions, you were, oddly enough, oblivious to other people. You lived cut off from the real pleasures of life—home, family, friendship—and lived a secluded, selfish existence in your own secret universe.
From this previous incarnation, you have the seriousness and discipline to accomplish whatever goals you set for yourself in this life. But the tikune in Cancer suggests that you relinquish the notion that professional victories, social importance, and your own reputation are the keys to your happiness. Kabbalistic wisdom tells us that these are all illusions.
Your correction in Cancer points you toward a new goal. It suggests that real happiness—durable, satisfying happiness—can be found in the creation of a truly warm and loving home. Along this path, you will discover a world heretofore unknown to you is filled with the wonder, simplicity, and spontaneity of childhood. You will learn flexibility and generosity in relationships and parenthood. The most difficult renunciation of your past life will lie in your abandonment of the well-established Capricorn ideas of success and failure. The key to your real success will be found in the loving eyes of your family and in your dedication and devotion to that love. It is here that you will find the ultimate satisfaction.
During Tammuz we all will be exposed to deep changing emotions. Summer starts during Tammuz and our life patterns and habits change from our normal school year patterns. This causes us to become reactive to the new patterns. Try not to travel during this period. Try to not allow yourself to become reactive. Try to stop your reactions during this period. Use the energy of healing from Iyar and the energy of balance from Sivan to achieve the completion of unification of our homes and families during the month of Tammuz.
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