Month of Tammuz

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spiritual_optometryTune into the energy and power of the month of Tammuz, the 4th month of the Jewish Calendar.

Tammuz ~ תמוז

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Challenge

Tammuz is the fourth month of the Jewish calendar. Tammuz begins the summer season. It is a challenging season for the Jewish people. Each month of the year is governed by another combination of the four letter name of G-d; the name that governs the month of tammuz is ה-ו-ה-י, which is the opposite order of the way G-d's name is usually written (י-ה-ו-ה). This, according to Kabbalah, alludes to the Midat Hadin - the attribute of judgment. The three months of summer: Tammuz, Av, and Elul, begin with the challenge of severity and judgment, but end with the gift of teshuvah (return, often translated as repentance) and rachamim (mercy).

The letter that is crowned in the month of Tammuz is the letter Chet (ח) which means sin in Hebrew. Tammuz is the month of the sin of the golden calf, which resulted in Moses breaking the tablets that held the ten commandments. The day of the breaking of the tablets - the 17th of Tammuz - begins the three week period (Bein Hameitzarim) which commemorates the time leading to the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. That period began with the breaking through of the wall surrounding the holy city and culminated in the destruction and burning of both Temples (in different eras) on the ninth of Av.

Damaged Sight

Tammuz is the month in which the spies sent by Moses traveled through the land of Israel and came back with a discouraging report. That resulted with the whole generation loosing the merit to enter the Holy Land and perishing in the desert instead. The spies began their journey on the 29th of Sivan and returned on the eve of the ninth of Av.

According to the book of Yetzirah the month of Tammuz is connected with the sense of Sight. This sense was blemished by the spies who failed to see the good of the land and the outstanding opportunity that the Jewish people had, had they trusted G-d's guidance and entered the land right away. The ultimate rectification of the power of Sight will come about with the coming of Moshiach, when we shall see the wonders of G-d.

Tammuz is therefore the right time to train one's eyes to see only the inner, positive dimension of reality and not to focus upon reality's outer, negative "shell". It is especially appropriate to focus on the good of our fellow man and to see the G-dly in him. In this month it is particularly important to guard one's eyes and refrain from seeing immodest sights.

The Effect of Seeing a Tzadik

Pregnant women should be extra careful to avoid looking at impure, un-G-dly things. There is a story told about a man's soul that left this world. When the soul came to Heaven, it heard a Heavenly voice declaring that anyone who had seen the Tzadik (righteous man) of that generation could enter Gan Eden (the spiritual Garden of Eden) immediately. That man had never seen that holy individual during his lifetime. How surprised was the soul when it was told that it, too, could enter the holy chambers of Gan Eden right away! When it asked "how come?" they answered: "When your mother was expecting you, she made an effort to go and see the righteous man. That had enough of an effect on you to enable you to join the holy chambers of Gan Eden."

Seeing Good

The tribe of the month of Tammuz is Reuven. This name comes from the root "to see" (re'u). Leah, Reuven's mother, said at his birth: "G-d saw my pain."

According to the Ariza"l, the months of Tammuz and Av are associated with the right and the left eyes. In the Talmudic tractate of Taanit our sages say regarding checking if a young woman is fitting to be chosen as a bride, that if her eyes are beautiful, one does not have to check her body (and the other way around).

We are encouraged to use this month in order to refine our power of Sight and beautify our eyes so we become a befitting "bride" for G-d.

The 17th of Tammuz is a day of fasting that commemorates tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people on that day. However, the number 17 represents the numerical value of the word Tov - good - in Hebrew. That gives us the power to discover and uncover the good that is hidden in any life challenge and bring about our personal and global transformation that will culminate in the true and complete Redemption.

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Dear Mrs. Ginsburg,

You are amazing because you've been our teacher in the real sense, teaching us informally and by your example and interest and appreciation of us as individuals. The other reason is because you believe in us and for me that means I have the confidence to try and be G-dly in ways I couldn't otherwise. Thank you, T.M.

 

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