The month of Tammuz in Kabbalah
The month of Tammuz, the fourth of the summer months that begin with Nissan, is the warmest month of the year. The zodiac sign of the month is Cancer (the Crab). Because of the intense heat, the crabs in the lakes and rivers multiply especially during this month.
The Kabbalah teaches us that everything in the material world has a spiritual origin in the supreme worlds, and hence the explanation of the intense heat of the month of Tammuz. In the Book of Psalms we find the expression “for the Lord G-d is a sun and a shield.” The name of the Creator, the Lord (Y-H-V-H), is parallel to the sun that illuminates the word and the name G-d (E-L-O-H-I-M) is parallel to the“shield” – closure of the sun, which protects us from its great heat.
The Kabbalah explains that the great heat of Tammuz derives from the strong illumination of the divine presence in creation, expressed in the name of the Lord, called “the special name.” The month of Tammuz is a time of revelation of the supreme illumination, comparable to the sun, in all the spiritual worlds.
The most prominent characteristic of the sun, compared with the moon is the lack of change. While the size of the moon varies daily, the size and the power of the sun are unchanged. This derives from the supreme level of the divine of 'lack of change', as written by the prophet Malachi, “I the Lord change not.” The Kabbalah explains that here the prophet refers especially to the fact that the Creator is so great and infinite that the entire creation of the world does not and cannot cause any change in Him. In the month of Tammuz the name of the Lord (Y-H-V-H), which represents a level of G-dliness which is far above and beyond nature, shines in greater intensity in all the worlds than any other time of the year, and thus the great heat during this month.
The name 'Tammuz' is mentioned in the Bible in reference to an idol, a god: “there sat the women weeping for Tammuz” (Ezekiel 8:14). The question is how the name of an idol becomes the name of a month in the Jewish calendar?
The ancient sages explain the mention of idolatry in the Bible – its very mention teaches us that it was nullified . In other words, the negative force in the word Tammuz has already been cancelled out, and the inner essence of the month of Tammuz has long been known, making it possible to eliminate undesirable aspects. Indeed, the divine illumination, the “sun of the Lord” in the month of Tammuz not only eliminates undesirable things, but actually transforms them into good, positive and enlightening forces.
In the month of Tammuz we are given the special ability to make substantial changes and significant transformation in many aspects of our lives, to turn negative things into positive ones.
This is also seen in the weekly Torah portions (parashot hashavua) read during the month of Tammuz, which emphasize the conversion of negative things into good, beneficial ones.
Parashat Korach – Korach’s claim against the priesthood led to increased supremacy of the High Priest and his positive influence on the Israelites.
Parashat Chukat (the red cow) - The red cow symbolizes the ability to purify and cleanse the soul even in the lowest of times.
Parashat Balak – Belam wanted to curse the Israelites and instead the words he uttered were transformed into lofty blessings.
Let us hope that we succeed in seeing the potential good in every situation in our lives, and in turning every problematic and negative situation into good, beneficial and enlightening for us, and the entire world. May we all enjoy a good month, and a happy, healthy summer.