Tevet holds the power to work on seeing good in ourselves and others and uncovering the good in life’s challenges.
The month of Tevet is the tenth month of the Jewish calendar, corresponding this year to December 28, 2008- January 25, 2009.
This month begins with the last days of Chanukah. With the power of the shining lights of the menorah we are able to reveal the good (Tov in Hebrew) which is hidden in the cold winter month of Tevet.
The Tenth of Tevet is a fast day. On this day Nevuchadnezar – the king of Babylon – initiated a siege around the holy city of Jerusalem. The siege lasted three years. At the end of the third year the walls of Jerusalem were broken through. That led to the destruction of the first Temple on the Ninth of Av. The Tenth of Teves therefore represents the beginning of the downfall of Jerusalem – the heart of the Jewish people. Spiritually, the service of this day has to address the need to become aware of any kind of unG-dly power that begins to beseige our hearts. If not conquered, it can become a threat to our entire being.
The two great Jewish leaders Ezra and Nechemia passed away on the Ninth of Tevet. They had been leading the Jewish people out of the exile of Babylonia back to the land of Israel. Their passing left an enormous impact on the orphaned Jewish community.
We learn from the book of Yetzirah that the letter that governs the month of Tevet is the letter Ayin. Ayin, in Hebrew, means “eye”. The faculty of the soul associated with Tevet is anger. This is the anger that is generated by the “Evil Eye”. The “Evil Eye” does not acknowledge the good and the G-dly in people or in life circumstances. We need the power of the light of Chanukah, especially the light of the last day of Chanukah (Zot Chanukah) to help us rectify the “Evil Eye” and to reveal the good (Tov – Tevet) in whatever exists. This month is an auspicious time to work on our anger through seeing the good that is in others, as well as uncovering the good in life challenges.
The Zodiac sign of Tevet is G’di (Capricorn). The numerical value of the word G’di is 17, which is the same value of the word Tov – good – that is present in the name of this month – Tevet. The symbol of the goat climbing up the mountain represents the growing and maturing process that comes about through refining and elavating our animal soul.
The tribe of this month is Dan. This is similar to the word Din which means judgment. That harsh energy of the soul brings about the “Evil Eye” and anger. Overcoming criticism and judgment of oneself and of others can bring about the highest levels of transformation. It is a transformation from the lowest creature of all – the snake – the symbol of the tribe of Dan, to the highest light of all – the light of Moshiach. [The numerical value of the word nachash (snake) is 358 which is the same as the value of the word Moshiach.] Why is this? The agenda of the primordial snake, also known as Satan, is to bring about the downfall of man. Judgment and criticism of oneself and of others that tampers with one’s G-dly sense of self worth is one of the snake’s tactics. Moshiach will reveal the highest levels of G-dliness in everything that exists, especially the G-dliness of our own selves – our essence.
This process of rectification is connected with the liver, the part of the body which is associated with the month of Tevet. The liver purifies the blood and transforms bad blood to good blood: the energy of judgement and anger being transformed to a burning love for G-d.