Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Month of Sivan: Rectifying the Sense of Motion

Sivan is a time for gaining clarity of vision, discovering our life’s purpose and receiving guidance and direction on how to actualize our goals.

It is the time when the fruits ripen on the trees. The trees correspond to the process that we all go through, whereas the ripening fruits symbolize our purpose and goal. On Shavuot we opened ourselves deeply to receive our portion in Torah – our spiritual fruits, and now we eat these fruits while working on digesting and integrating our new direction in life. The Torah is threefold consisting of Torah, Nevi-im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Scriptures). It was therefore given to a threefold people (Kohanim, Leviim and Yisraelim) in the third month [Sivan] by three leaders (Moses, Aaron, and Miriam).” This ‘threefoldedness’ reminds me of the way to achieve truth by means of thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis. Truth is always the true middle path between the opposite poles. On Pesach Hashem took us out of Egypt with so much light (thesis). During the counting of the Omer, we realized our unworthiness of all this light, and worked on building our vessels (antithesis). From Shavuot and onwards we are integrating and balancing our lights and vessels (synthesis). The sense of this month is ‘motion.’ Movement symbolizes the practical outcome of the sacred development of the power of speech, characterizing Nissan and the attribute of thought corresponding to Iyar. During these three months we attempt to perfect ourselves in the realms in the triad of thought, speech and action which together constitute the whole expression of humanity and the complete fulfillment of the Torah. One of the spiritual healing exercises that I use in EmunaHealing to help women get in touch with their life’s purpose and goal is simply to get into a meditative state through slow breathing, and imagining a soothing place, taking it in with all of our senses. When feeling very at peace and relaxed then it’s the time to ask our ‘superconsciousness the following two questions:’  “Who am I – מי אני/mee ani, Who am I – מי אני/mee ani, Who am I –מי אני/mee ani.” “Why am I here – למה אני כאן/lama ani kan, Why am I here – למה אני כאן/lama ani kan, Why am I here – למה אני כאן/lama ani kan.”  Try it out for yourself,  I believe most of you will get some kind of an answer even if it cannot be expressed in words.

The Spiritual Attributes of the Month of Sivan
 ספר יצירה ה:ז המליך אות ז’ בהלוך וקשר לו כתר וצרפן זה בזה וצר בהם תאומים  בעולם, וסיון בשנה, ורגל שמאל בנפש זכר ונקוה

He made the letter zayin king over motion and He tied a crown to it and He combined one with another and with them He formed Gemini in the Universe, Sivan in the Year, and the left leg in the Soul, male and female. 

In the holy Zohar it states that the month of Sivan is called twins (Gemini), hinting to the mouth and the tongue. For these two are connected as one. About these two it states, “Every mouth shall acknowledge you, and every tongue shall swear.”  The mouth is rectified during the holiday of Pesach which means the mouth speaks, whereas the tongue is rectified on Shavuot. On Pesach our mouth acknowledges Hashem, whereas, on Shavuot our tongue swears as we were standing atop Mount Sinai, where and when we took the oath to keep the Torah. This is why this holiday is called ‘Shavuot,’ which means ‘to swear.’  So now that we have taken upon ourselves to strengthen our service of Hashem, it’s the time to integrate our new resolve into our everyday routine.

Zayin the Crowning Letter of Victory
The shape of the letter zayin is a vav with a crown on its head. This represents the crown that every Jewish soul received (which, in particular, consists of two levels, two crowns, as taught by our sages) upon the giving of the Torah. The Ten Commandments themselves contain 620 letters, the numerical value of the Hebrew word כתר/Keter – crown. The Letter zayin alludes to the Sefirah of Netzach. Just as the letter zayin is the seventh in the alphabet so is Netzach the seventh of the Sefirot counting from Keter. In Hebrew zayin is related to the wordכלי זין /kli zayin a word that denotes a tool, as in agriculture or war. Thus this word also refers to a weapon. Through the Sefirah of Netzach we can triumph (מנצח/m’natzeach) in war. Likewise Netzach alludes to the Staff of G-d. With this staff Moshe enacted all the signs and wonders which changed nature and overcame all the ministering angels. Note that the shape of the zayin is like a staff with a broad head. When Moshe would use his staff, he would focus on the sefirah of Netzach to draw the power and strength from Above, and this is how he was able to overcome nature. This fits in with the fact that Moshe Rabbeinu (our rabbi) corresponds to the Sefirah of Netzach.  He gave us the Torah – the weapon against our negative inclination.   It is also possible to say that Hashem made the Jewish people wear weapons at the time of the giving of the Torah in order to be saved from any attack and the angel of death.  King Salomon makes a connection between Torah, weaponry, and bread, “If your enemy is hungry feed him bread.”  Bread can be understood as a symbol for the wisdom of Torah, hence spiritual sustenance. לחם/lechem – bread is etymologically related to the word for war – מלחמה/milchama, which is the war against our baser instincts. If our spiritual enemy is in need of sustenance, feed them with Torah.

The Crystal Clarity of the Letter Zayin
Zayin is the first letter in the word זה/zeh (‘this’), signifying the unique level of prophesy of Moshe  אספקלריא מאירה/aspklaria m’irah (the transparent plane). He saw Hashem so clearly as if you would point a finger and say “see this.”  According to Rabbi Yossi, the Torah was given on the seventh day of Sivan.   It was also originally given on Shabbat – the seventh day. The name Zevulun, the tribe of the month of Sivan,  begins with the letter zayin. The Torah-portions of the month of Sivan are from the beginning of the Book of Bamidbar. It is all about our traveling in the wilderness. This fits in with the sense of the month, which is travel or motion. In the third portion –Beha’alotcha, there appears a section of two verses “And when the ark traveled...”  which is separated from the Torah text that precedes it and that follows it (by two ‘upside-down nuns’). Our sages teach us that this is in order to divide the Torah into seven books, instead of the normal division of five. This phenomenon is alluded to in the verse, “Wisdom has built her house, she carved her pillars seven.”   Together, zayin (7) and hei (5, the normal division of the Torah) spell זה/zeh (‘this’), the unique level of the prophecy of Moshe.

Continuously Walking on the Way of Hashem
The sense of the month of Sivan ‘walking’ refers to the sense of continuous, ongoing progress.  It teaches us about the dynamic quality of Torah which is a Tree of Life that continues to be revealed in new ways.  Each law of the Torah is called a halacha, from the word ‘to walk.’  הֲלִיכוֹת עוֹלָם לוֹ:… “The walking of the world belongs to him.”   Rabbi Eliyahu said, whoever studies halachot will surely merit the World to Come, as it states “the walkings (halichot) of the world belongs to him.” Do not read it walking (halichot) but laws (halachot).   The Torah gives us the power to walk ahead, to leave our initial premises in order to first locate and then elevate fallen Divine sparks present throughout reality. And so it is said of Zevulun (the tribe of the month) “Be happy Zevulun when you go out.”  While the angels, who did not merit receiving the Torah are called “standers” (for they do not possess the essential life dynamic) the souls of Israel (who received the Torah) are called “walkers amongst the standers.” We need to always continue to move on, learn new ways and avoid being complacent and stagnant. With regard to the ‘strength’ of the Torah, it states, “They shall proceed from strength to strength, everyone of them appears before G-d in Zion.”   From this we learn that the righteous have no rest, neither in this world nor in the world to come. Even in the absolute state of rest and tranquility of the world to come, the soul of the righteous experience simultaneously the sense of ‘infinite progress’ and ‘walking ahead.’

May we continue to stay “on the derech,”  and progress towards fulfilling our purpose and personal goal!

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