Tammuz and the Land

The following text by Reb Zalman is from this week’s Torah portion, Shabbos Shlach Lecha. (Click here for Hebrew/English version). [Notes by Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor]:

Written for Shabbat preceding new month of Tammuz, 5743 / 1983 in the Holy Land

Send out for yourself men who will scout the land (Numbers 13:2)

The divine name, YHVH, for the month of Tammuz, according to the tradition of permutation of letters, is found in an acronym of last letters from the verse, (Esther 5:13) “zeH (Heh) eynenU (Vav) shoveH (Heh) lI (Yod) / this is worthless to me,” which spells YHVH backwards, i.e. HVHY.

[NOTE:  This is the verse found in Siddurim that show the monthly permutations of the name.  Cf, https://www.jewishrenewalhasidus.org/wp-content/uploads/tziruf.pdf for all the months and their texts as found in Siddur Ha-Ari.] 

And consider: The sign of Tammuz is Cancer, its quality is water sign and its chief characteristic is the level of wife as center of household and family, the astrological House of the Home. The particular letter for this month is chet and sense, hearing, which goes beyond all the senses.

For this time of year, a theme is the churban / destruction of the Holy Temple

[NOTE:  From the 17th of Tammuz to the 9th of Av is the period of mourning.] 

in the name of ADN”Y

[NOTE:  Each name of God alludes to a different Sefirah, and this one alludes to Malchut.]

and, for this reason, Moshe prayed:  (Numbers 14:17) Now, please, let the strength of ADN”Y be increased, as You spoke, saying

[NOTE:  S/He gave us the thirteen attributes to invoke Hir mercy.]

for at this time,

[NOTE: Of Tammuz; of the destruction.] 

the power of DiBBuR / speaking right is very weakened.

[NOTE: Moshe prayed to the name Adn”y to strengthen the power of speech.]

For, (Exodus 14:3) “Closed in upon them is hamiDaBBeR / the power of speech” and there is no Peh-sach / open mouth (Pri etz chayimShaar Mikra kodesh 80:4).

[NOTE:  Usually read as “Closed in upon them is hamidbar / the desert; and Pesach / Passover.]

But, when “the mother of children is happy” (Psalm 113:9),

[NOTE:  Building on a theme of Tammuz / Cancer as akeret habayit / wife as center of household mentioned above, and from the same Psalm.  Zalman’s translation from Psalm 113:  “Restore Earth our Mother as the center of her household so as to delight in all her children.”  ]

then haNukvah / the feminine is the bestower of bounty – and that’s the level of Pu’ah, one of the G-dfearing midwives, (Exodus 1:15, cf., Rashi there)

[NOTE:  Rashi on this verse: “Pu’ah has the meaning of crying aloud, as (Is. XLII. 14 ‘I will cry like a travailing woman,'” 

but Reb Zalman instead, takes another meaning for Puah as related to the root sheFa / nurturing influence, as in l’hashpi’a, where the letter Shin is a Shaf’el form 

the theme again of peh-sach / open mouth.] 

“the midwives” “but they saved the children alive” “and He made them houses” (ibid 21).

[NOTE:  Pointing the way for us to be hopeful and pro-active at this time.]

And the women were told they must not (Ezekiel 8:14) “weep for Tammuz,”

[NOTE:  The name of an idol of an ancient Near East deity.]

for (Proverbs 12:4), “woman of valor” is “crown of her husband,”

[NOTE:  I.e., God.] 

then we increase and sanctify the great name.

[NOTE:  The midwives show us the way to redemption through their nurture saving the children, opposing oppression.]

And then, the masculine receives and the feminine bestows, and the entire redemption depends on this. And it’s a pity that in our time it is very hard to find males who are able, at least for a time, to be a recipient of the strong, plentiful love that comes from the feminine.

And from the time of the destruction of the Temple, when sacrifices were no longer offered, the energies that had been empowered by the arousal from below, i.e., the  raising of mayim nukvin / feminine waters, were somewhat diminished, and only verbal prayer remained.

[NOTE:  So then, an important question is how do we raise the mayim nukvin when certain things from the past are not available to us.   

Mayim nukvin represent the elevation of a longing from below to God, and  Mayim dukhrin, the masculine waters, represent the longing in the other direction, from God to us.] 

Also diminished, the raising of the korbanot / sacrifices,

[NOTE:  Sacrifices of animals, etc., in the temple used to be the way we registered a need with God.  This way is not available to us.] 

“and the taste of meat was removed,” etc., and, “the taste of sex was put into illicit things,” (Sanhedrin 75a).

[NOTE:  According to a note on 75a of the Schottenstein edition of Sanhedrin, the sapping of energy due to the exile of the Jewish people and the destruction of the holy temple has reduced the degree of pleasure in marital intimacy and increased the searching for satisfaction in other places.]

But the “feminine waters” are our longing for the “fixing of the Shechinah,” i.e., redemption, when the Sefirah of Malchut rises to Keter to be the crown of her husband!

[NOTE: Now Zalman returns to the sentence dealing with the NAME of the month with Haman saying that all the honor he is getting from others is insufficient for him…]

And Haman the wicked, despite being on the level of, “I have plenty,” (Genesis 33:9)

[NOTE:  The reference is to Esau turning down the gifts of Jacob.] 

could not have enough because of the flaw in his soul that, “all this is worthless to me,” (HVHY),

[NOTE:  This is the text again, with the acronym cited above.] 

for at all times, he was distracted by there being someone else for whom there was satisfaction, [i.e. Mordechai]. Haman wanted to be the only one “that the king delighteth to honor.”

But with holiness, it’s just the opposite: They all lovingly “give permission one to another” to sanctify their creator for the point is that in sanctifying the name it will be a delight to anyone for another to honor the king too.

[NOTE:  And conversely, we draw delight from another’s bounty and, we share in hir good fortune.]

And this was also the spies’ sin, that they spoke ill of the land.

[NOTE:  just like Haman’s not appreciating his bounty or his being in good graces with the king.]

“The land consumes its inhabitants,” (Numbers 13:32). And indeed, land is like malchut: – (Genesis 2:4) “On the day that havaye elokim asot / made earth and heaven” – i.e., it is like malchut

[NOTE:  Our gifts from our mother the earth are many and just as God made earth and heaven, so the earth brings forth its creations day by day.]

havaye upside down – permutation of letters for the month, HVHY.  

And especially in this month, (Psalms 113:9) “Mother of children rejoices” — the fruits really ripen because of plenitude of summer solstice.

And from the fruits of the land, (the seven species), many regulations are derived that depend upon (one living in) the land. And the spies, according to the teachings of our master the wise one (his soul in Eden),

[NOTE:  The reference is to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi.]

the Jewish wanderers didn’t think much of regulations that depend upon the land, for they much preferred “angel food,” i.e. Manna, and water from Miriam’s well and not “the rains in their season”

[NOTE:  cf, Shema, v’haya im shamoa, the rains come because you earn it, i.e., sense of reward and punishment.]

which depend on taking on the Mitzvot; and they preferred the clouds of glory upon which stood the pillar of fire and cloud. And why should they enter into uncertainty regarding the plowing and harvesting in a world that can bring a person to think that it is (Deuteronomy 8:17) “My strength and the might of my hand that has accumulated this wealth for me.”

But the Holy One of Blessing desires to have a dwelling below among human beings, and S/He prefers Joshua and Caleb’s speech, (Numbers 14:7) “… it is an exceedingly good land.” And as the Targum Onkelos (ibid) says “ad la-chada la-chada” / (meaning both exceedingly and singularly – like yechidah), i.e., yechidah sheb’nefesh.

[NOTE:  Of the five levels of soul, Yechidah is the highest.  So the idea is self-actualization will come from the full integration of us, God and our mother the planet.]

And that’s why the merciful one said shelach lecha anashim / shik nur menshen – make sure the ones sent will be self-governed and free of self-bribery, [i.e., honest with themselves] so that they find favor in the eyes of people, “viyaTuRuH / who will scout out the land,” [i.e.], who will study the ToRaH of the earth to put the Torah into earthly things.

[NOTE:  The words “to scout” and Torah / learning have a common Hebrew root of tav reish.]

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
from Yishmiru Daat (2009 revision),
Parashat Shlach Lecha,” p. 35

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