According to Arizal, every month is the aspect of one of the limbs of the head, Tamuz is the right eye and Av is the left eye. This is why it states, due to the destruction of the Temple during the month of Av, (Eichah 1:16) “My eye, my eye runs down with water” (Sha’ar Hakavanot, Derushei Rosh Hashana 1). These eyes will be rectified and illuminated during the time of redemption when Pinchas Eliyahu comes in the numerical value of two times eye. (פנחס/Pinchas 208 +אליהו /Eliyahu 52=260), עין/ayin – eye (130 x 2 =260) (B’nei Yissaschar, Articles on the Months of Tamuz and Av 1:4).
Today, many of us are wearing glasses at least for driving or reading. Just as our physical sight is impaired, so is our spiritual sight, as long as we experience hester panim, (the hiding of His face). I can’t wait to get rid of my glasses for good, so I better get going on developing a more spiritual inner vision. I was thinking about how the word for fear in Hebrew יראה/yirah is similar to the word for sight ראיה/reiyah. The two words share the exact same letters in Hebrew. I want to venture to say that when we are consumed by fear it closes our channel of true vision. In the wake of the recent tragic events in Israel most people that I have come in contact with have been strengthened in their emunah. Yet, there are those whose fear has been instigated and sadly, some have even cancelled their plans of coming to Israel. There is so much to fear in this world, between fear of terrorist attacks, accidents and illnesses G-d forbid. All these fears are fallen fears and their rectification is in the fear or awe of G-d. Because we cannot see G-d it is also hard to fear Him. The more we internalize how G-d stand right in front of us and “His eye sees, His ear hears, and all our deeds are written in the book” (Pirkei Avot 2:1), the more we can cultivate awe of G-d. With this awe of G-d there is no place for other fears. As King David taught us, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me…” (Tehillim 23:4). I found that when we have sunken to the bottom of the darkest fear, singing this verse from Tehillim, repeatedly helps immensely. Then just then, when we are able to relax our fears a bit by connecting with Hashem’s goodness, then we may get even a glimmer of a higher reality beyond our petty fearful world of limitations.
Redemption is Dependent of Fixing the Eyes of Israel
Since our eyes are our essence “A bride (alluding to the congregation of Israel), whose eye are beautiful doesn’t need any further checking,” (Babylonian Talmud, Ta’anit 24a) The opposite is also true G-d forbid. When Moshe hesitated to accept his mission as the redeemer of Israel he said, “Please My Master, Send, please by the hand of whom you will send” (Shemot 4:13) Targum Yonatan translates it, “Send by Pinchas Eliyahu, whom you will send in the future in the end of days.” Moshe realized that since he wouldn’t be enacting the final tikun (rectification) of fixing the eyes of all of Israel, then he didn’t see any point in even beginning this process. At the burning bush it states, “When Hashem saw that he turned aside to see” (Shemot 3:4), the Hebrew word for turning aside – סָר/sar shares the numerical value of two times עין/ayin – eye. Moshe, our rabbi and the greatest prophet of all times, looked deeply and peered into the future and saw that the two months of Tamuz and Av would not be completely rectified and illuminated until the final redemption, when Pinchas Eliyahu with the numerical values of two eyes will arrive. This is why Moshe requested, “Please send by the hand of (Pinchas Eliyahu), as Yonatan translated (B’nei Yissaschar, Articles on the Months of Tamuz and Av 1:4).Moshe understood that the final redemption is dependent on fixing the blemish of the eyes of Israel reflected in the calamities that took place during these two months. The root of our impaired vision stems from the impatience and narrow-mindedness we exhibited at the Golden Calf, created on the 17th of Tamuz. Being separated from our leader, Moshe, we lost our higher spiritual perspective and sought refuge in the physical tangible figure apparition of the Golden Calf. Turning to the earth for our salvation removed part of our connection with Heaven. Therefore, the spies who toured the land during the month of Tamuz and the first 9 days of Av lost their trust in their Higher Power and succumbed to the fear of the flesh of blood inhabitants of the Land. Prophecy can only shine forth through simcha, (happiness). The sadness of the months of Tamuz and Av with their respective fast days lessen our expanded vision. Our vision will only be fully healed in the time of our redemption when the fast days will turn into days of celebration.
Beholding at the Land of Israel with Rectified Vision
Although Moshe Rabbeinu was aware that he would be unable to enact the final redemption by fixing the blemish of vision, he nevertheless requested of Hashem, “Please, let me see the land” (Devarim 3:25). Through looking at the Land of Israel with the prophetic eyes of Moshe Rabbeinu – the eyes of so much desire and yearning for the spiritual land, he would at least be able to enact a partial rectification. Moshe’s seeing the land weaved another strand of the fabric of redemption begun by Avraham when Hashem first told him, “Go to the land which I will show you” (Bereishit 12:1). We too, can continue the tapestry of redemption when we look at the Land of Israel with desire, love and admiration. When we look for the Divine supervision so inherent in the Land, overcoming the fear of the spies, we have an opportunity to uncover glimpses of the hidden light and bring the final rectification of vision one step closer.
Reverting our Perspective
The permutation of the month of Tamuz is Heh/Vav/Heh/Yud this Name denotes judgment as it is in the opposite order of the name Yud Keh Vav Keh (שם המפורש)/shem hameforash which symbolizes complete chesed (kindness). However, it all depends on our perspective of seeing. This month is a month of reversals. There is a reversal of the Divine permutation. If we look at the permutation of the month in the mirror, the name of Yud Keh Vav Keh itself appears. The mirror is a great tool for reverting our perspective. When we fall prey to judgmental vision, we can work on seeing the shortcomings of others as a mirror for our own character development process. Therefore, through the sense of seeing we have the ability to transform the judgments into complete chesed. When we become masters of mirroring we may be able to see beyond the revealed reality, connect with the hidden light and rise beyond our nature.
Walking Backwards for the Sake of Walking Forward
The astrological sign of the Month of Tamuz is Cancer. Cancer is a crab that walks backwards. At times we need to go backward for the sake of going forward. We need to go backwards in order to undo and clean up the mess we have created. The first thing I look for when I learn a new program on the computer is where is the undo button! So this month is about undoing about undoing the sin of the Golden Calf, and of the spies. It is about undoing narrow minded fears and divisions in order to tap into the all-inclusive greater light with which we can see all of Israel with renewed eyes beyond any trace of fallen fear. חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם: chadesh yameinu k’kedem – “Renew our days as beforehand” (Eichah 5:21).
The Creation of the World For the Sake of Redeeming the Eyes of Israel
Hashem created the world in order to rectify and illuminate the eyes of the congregation of Israel – that is to rectify the two months of Tamuz and Av which are called eyes. It is accepted knowledge from the earliest kabbalists (Pirkei Heichalot Hakadmot, Chapter 39), that the names of Mashiach ben Yosef is Nechamia ben Chushiel, and that of Mashiach ben David is Menachem ben Emanuel. Together with the name of Eliyahu who will herald the coming of Mashiach these three redeemers have the same numerical value as בראשית/Bereishit. Mashiach ben Yosef, Mashiach ben David and Eliyahu are alluded to in the first word of the Torah (Bereishit), to indicate that only when these three redeemers come, then יִשְׂמַח הָשֵׁם בְּמַעֲשָׂי/Yismach Hashem b’ma’asav – will Hashem be happy with his creation (Tehillim 104:11). The word יִשְׂמַח/yismach contains all the letters of מָשִׁיחַ/Mashiach.
The Torah ends with the sentence, “In the eyes of all Israel” (Devarim 34:12). It is amazing how the end of the Torah is wedged within its beginning. בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹקיִם/bereishit bara Elokim (Bereishit 1:1) – G-d created the word for the sake of bereishit – the three redeemers. May they come speedily in our days to redeem us with everlasting redemption! (B’nei Yissaschar, Articles on the Months of Tamuz and Av 1:4).