Menachem-Av @ Sefer Yetzira
The Tribe (and gemstone) for Menachem-Av is Shimon
Shimon שמעון was incised on
the פטדה Pitdah,
which some commentators translate as an emerald,
hence the scintillating green colors in the painting.
Other sources of inspiration include:
1) the desert banner of Shimon,
which showed the city of Shechem שכם
ensconced between the mountains.
2) the suggestion of an ear shape
or sound wave ripples
which hints at the meaning of the Hebrew word
Shimon – שמעון “diminutive” hearing,
the inner hearing of the still
voice of the soul.
כי שמע ה’ כי שנואה אנכי
heard that I was unloved (Genesis 29:33)
Hearing and its rectification
is the special attribute or quality of Av
and relates remarkably with the ear-like shape
of the Hebrew Letter ט Tet
which permeates this month.
Tet is the Ninth Letter of the Hebrew alphabet
and obviously connects with the “holiday”
of Tisha b’Av – the Ninth Day
which commemorates the Destruction of the Temples
and other tragic events in Jewish history.
But if we listen to our Shimon שמעון, our “inner hearing”,
we can be comforted מנחם
in the promise of the Prophets and
the month becomes: מנחם-אב
The change from what would seem
to be a tremendous downfall
to a messianic vision of the future
is also hinted by the Zodiac Sign
for the month of Menachem Av
namely Leo the Lion
and according to the forced prophecy
of the wicked Bilaam:
הֶן-עָם כְּלָבִיא יָקוּם
Look! A people that rises itself up
(from a crouching position)
like a Lion.
Without the “inner hearing” of our faith,
we can fall into the despair
that what seems to be our “crouching position”
in the Galut is The Reality,
when in fact it is a springboard to a New Era.
Tammuz תמוז @ Sefer
The Tribe (and gemstone) for Tammuz is Reuvan.
The precious stone for Reuvan ראובן
in the Breastplate of the High Priest
is called the אדם (pronounced
a red stone which most commentators agree
is a ruby, and the basis for the above painting’s colors.
The name אדם is also the word,
Adam, or Man,
and suggests also the dudaim,
the human-like mandrakes,
which Reuvan gave to his mother Leah.
The ruby and the mandrakes have been credited
with having the power to aid fertility.
This implies in the spiritual dimension
the ability to make `chidushim’
new creative discoveries –
also connected with the first three letters
of Reuvan’s name ראו,
which means seeing, even otherworldly vision.
וילך ראובן…וימצא דודאים בשדה
Reuben went…and found mandrakes in the field
Sight – and its rectification
is the special Attribute or sense of Tammuz
and relates remarkably with the two aspects
of the Hebrew Letter ח Chet
which permeates this month.
The Letter is pronounced
“chet” implying Sin חטא,
but it is written out חית,
which can be read “chayut”
positive energy or life-force.
The Letter CHET represents the marriage aמd union
of the different Masculine and Feminine Energies,
represented by the letter VAV ו
on the right
and the letter Zion ז on the
They are connected by a “bridge”, ma’avarta,
which in a holy marriage,
is symbolized by the chupa חופה,
the encompassing spiritual light.
The ability to connect and integrate energies
implied in the letter Chet
contrasts with the secular representation
of the Zodiac Sign for
Cancer (The Crab or Crayfish)
where each force spins in its own egoistic orbit.
Sivan - סיון @ Sefer Yetzira
The Tribe (and gemstone) for Sivan is Zebulun
on the יהלם
which commentators believe
was not a diamond,
as its modern Hebrew
but rather a pearl, which is, of course,
only found in
the depths of the sea
and thus appropriate for this sea-faring tribe,
hinted by the pearly and ocean wave
texture of the
shall settle the coast (Genesis 49:13)
The tribe of Zebulun
shared a special bond
with the tribe of Isaachar (the scholars),
in that they agreed to split their
material and spiritual wealth equally.
Actually the level of Zebulun is higher,
reaching כתר The Crown,
because without this tribe's support,
the Torah could not be sustained.
This is hinted by the form
of the Letter
that permeates this month: Zayin ז
a Vav with a Crown with another three small
crown-like extensions (Tagim) on top,
often referred to as the Golden Scepter
שרבית הזהב of the King
The Vav runs or channels from Heaven to Earth
representing Ohr Yashar (Direct or Straight Light)
the Masculine Waters or vector
while the Zayin represents
Ohr Chozer (Returning Light)
the Feminine Waters or vector.
(See also link to Turnarounds)
The Attribute or Sense
for this month
is Walking הליכה
referring not only to
but to the spiritual sense
of seeking progress and development.
An individual who possesses
a sense of walking
has a particular keenness
in moving forward
and always striving for more.
This is certainly the quality
of the "successful" Zebulun merchant,
who is really on a "hidden mission"
to collect in his travels
the fallen sparks that fell into the world
from Shevirat HaKalim
Breaking of the Vessels.
It also has the cognate
connection to the הלכה Halacha
and the rectification of the world.
Connected to the above is the
Controlling Limb for
The Left Foot
The Left Side (Gevurah) is more attuned
to the mundane reality as
opposed to the Right (Chesed) which
is more related to the spiritual.
Thus we always begin to walk
in our life journey with the left foot
to be followed by the mediating right
to maintain our balance and direction.
The Zodiac sign for Sivan is Gemini - The Twins
The Twins first and
to the two identical
Tablets of the Covenant
Moses at Mt. Sinai.
a bride and groom attain
highest degree of connection,
are described as twins.
day on which God gave
Torah to the Jewish people
a Wedding between the two.
the Song of Songs God
to His bride,
Jewish people, as perfect (תמתי).
sages read this word as “twin” (תאומתי).
archetypal twins in the Torah
Jacob and Esau.
from being identical,
represent spiritual opposites.
the heart of every Jew,
represents the good inclination
Esau represents the evil inclination.
through the power
on the month of Sivan,
the relationship between
diametrically opposed twins
be rectified and the two can unite.
Iyar - אייר @ Sefer Yetzira
The Tribe (and gemstone) for Iyar is Issachar
on the Sapir ספיר
within the Kho-shen חשן
(Breastplate of the High Priest)
which commentators believe
may be a sapphire of a deep blue tint,
color of the pure sky,
since this tribe was known
for the excellence
of its Torah and astronomical studies
and composed the majority
of the Sanhedren.
In the midst of
was able to see
a form of a dark cloud,
suggesting the receiving
the Torah at Sinai.
The desert banner of Issachar
of a donkey,
which hints at the tribe’s ability
to carry the heavy
load of Torah.
is a strong-boned donkey
The letter VAV ו
permeates this month
which in the Torah is called Ziv זיו
(radiance) cognate to Light.
The Letter VAV represents connection
and is the exact MIDDLE LETTER of the Torah
in Parshat Shimini which always precedes Iyar
and can be understood
as the AXLE around which
all the other letters
of the entire Torah revolve.
also links together
months of Nissan and Sivan.
This linking also connects to
the Attribute of Iyar: Thought
contemplation and introspection.
It also signifies the power of
Iyar being the month completely dedicated
to the counting of “sefirat haomer“.
The root “to think” in Hebrew
means numerical calculation,
This is also related
of the month: the Right kidney.
Our sages say
“the kidneys give advice.”
In particular, the right
relates to spiritual advice
necessary for “chesbon nefesh”.
The Zodaic sign for Iyar is
Taurus - The Bull - שור
(the left face
of the Divine Chariot)
represents the spiritual origin
of the “animal
soul” of man.
The month of Iyar is the month
that man rectifies his
refines his innate character traits
via each day of “sefirat
as he prepares
to receive the Torah in Sivan.
Nissan - ניסן @ Sefer Yetzira
The Tribe (and gemstone) for Nissan is Judah
JUDAH יהודה was inscribed on the Nofech נפך
which some commentators believe
was a bluish-green carbuncle.
The gem is said to have an efficacy in
achieving victory over one's enemies,
internal and external,
which is a primary attribute of Kingdom,
as well as the Baal Tsuvah, the Repenter,
both of which are associated with Judah.
The desert banner of Judah
contained a picture of a crouching lion
and a gestalt of its profile
may be discerned in the painting.
is a young lion (Genesis 49:9)
The letter HAI ה
permeates this month.
The form of the Letter Hai
has two perpendicular lines
representing Thought and Speech
and a detached YOD (Hand)
It being upside down
suggests pregnancy and birth.
The letter HAI is the phonetic source
for all 22 letters of the alef-beit.
The sages teach us that
“with the letter HAI God created this world.”
from the phrase in Genesis (2:4):
אֵלֶּה תוֹלְדוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ בְּהִבָּרְאָם
These are the generations of the Heaven
and of the Earth when they were created
The last word can be read:
They were created with the Letter HAI
Thus, the month of Nisan signifies
the annual renewal of the creation of this world.
The Attribute or Sense for Nissan is Speech
the ability to express to another
one’s deepest feelings and insights.
This is the secret of Pesach and the Hagada
celebrating the freedom of speech
with the redemption from Egypt
which is the existential state of confinement
and the inability to truly express oneself.
These ideas are further elaborated
in my videoart in YouTube:
Voyage into the Matza Interior
Controling Limb of the month is the Right Foot
the direction of Chesed and beginning of the
performance of the Mitzvot.
The Zodaic sign for Nissan is
Aries - The Ram - טלה
The ram or lamb symbolizes the Pesach sacrifice,
the first sacrifice of the Jewish people
to God just before their redemption.
Of all of God’s creations, the ram possesses
the innate ability to arouse mercy by its voice
and the sound of the Shofar.
53 Parshas of the Torah
Jewish and Chassidic Holidays
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as prints and giclees,
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anyone you know who may be visiting Northern Israel
are invited to our studio/gallery at Alkabetz
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