The Hebrew month of Tammuz or Tamuz, its energy and place in the zodiac.
Contributed by Rav Nissim Mordechai Makor
May this article be an Ilui Neshamah for Chaim ben Moshe Aharon HaLevi zt’l. Whose Yarzheit is on the 22nd Tammuz.
Tammuz is a very interesting month. On one hand it is considered one of the three negative months (Tammuz, Av and Tevet), and the 17th of the month is the day when the golden calf was offered – now a fast day. Yet if we look closer into this month, we will see there is an opportunity to reveal an incredible amount of light.
What does it mean, a ‘negative month’?
It does not mean that it is a bad month. What it means is that judgement controls during the three negative months instead of mercy. The attribute of judgement is more prevalent and direct in these months and therefore more tests).
Some background info… From Shavuot until the 17th of Tammuz is 39/40 days depending on when you start counting. During this time Moshe Rabeinu was in heaven receiving the Torah and Bnei Yisrael were at bottom of the mountain basking in the glory of Hashem. During these 39 days there was the energy Mashiach and there was, bila hamavet lanetzach – no death, immortality. Unfortunately the people miscalculated and some of the Erev Rav convinced the people that 40 days had already past and Moshe was not coming back. The people panicked and the result was the golden calf.
The thing to realize is that we had Mashiach for 39 days. If Bnei Yisrael would have waited another six hours for Moshe, this state of Mashiach would have become permanent. This is the incredible potential of energy in this month. We have to turn this negativity into positivity. How do we do this? Chazal say that in the time of Mashiach, Tammuz will become a time of joy. The main job in Tammuz and the first half of Av is to be happy. This month and the next, Av, are heavy, especially during the three weeks and the tendency is to get down on ourselves. We have to work very hard to stay happy. By doing this we will merit an easy month and be able to tap into this energy of immortality.
The month of Tammuz is controlled by the moon and the next month, Av, is controlled by the sun. These two months are the only ones in the zodiac that are not controlled by one of the five planets we use. We can learn a lot from the moon. The moon is always connected to the Jewish people. The moon starts off small at the beginning of the month and grows to full by the middle of the month and then starts to shrink again. This month is all about renewal and starting over. There is ALWAYS another chance with Hashem. The moon gives us the energy to change and renew ourselves.
- Index of Hebrew months of the year and their place in the zodiac
- Index of the weekly Torah portion – Parshat Hashavua
- Shabbat and festival candle lighting times and blessings
- Learn the Hebrew & Gregorian months of the year
Shlomo HaMelech – King Solomon – said there is nothing new under the sun. However, he didn’t say anything about above the sun. The sun represents nature. It rises every morning. It doesn’t change like the moon. The Jews are above the sun, above nature. We are able to rise above our nature (the sun) and bring miracles into our lives.
As I said, the tikkun for people who are born in Tammuz is to stay happy. They are very sensitive and can sometimes be insecure, yet this is their work. Like the symbol for this month, the crab, which has a hard shell around it, so to people born in this month, build a wall around their hearts thinking that they will not get hurt. Unfortunately this wall does not protect them from suffering. Also, the crab cannot walk forward or backwards, it can only walk sideways. There is no continuity. Crabs lack balance and this is what we have to strive for in this month. Tammuz is also a good month for business and people born in this month can be very good business people.
The letters of the month are Chet and Taf and the line of the Ana Becoach is the last line, which is Malchut. Is it no coincidence that the name of this month is the same as the dreaded disease?
There is an old saying; The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
We have all heard this saying, but what does it mean?
Many times we make promises to do some good deed; give charity, feed the homeless, but don’t follow through. The day after you had the idea, the original enthusiasm is gone and the task just seems too big. In the Upper Worlds, time and space don’t exist, therefore when you decide to do a good deed in your mind (which is the spiritual world) it is as if it is already done. As it is already done, you then get the reward for it. Unfortunately this physical world is not like the spiritual world in that the thought is only the potential. The manifestation happens only when we actually do the deed. This is the beautiful paradox about life.
In science, there is a theory called the “Footprint Theory”. With this theory, for example, if someone decides to walk on the beach tomorrow, at that instant his footprints are already on the beach. All he has to do is get up the next morning, go down to the beach and not make the footprints, but put his feet in the footprints that are ALREADY there.
The Zohar tells us that if a person has good intentions but fails to enact them, the positive energy of their promises becomes a negative force which will manifest itself in one way or another.
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s system of Jewish law centers on a person’s thoughts (“a deed is judged by the thought behind it”), or its inherent quality (as opposed to its outer, visible aspect). He therefore exempted from punishment any violation of Shabbat and financial damages that were unintentional. He considered a person’s thoughts and inner self as the main thing in a person’s life, and many of his opinions, rulings and instructions reflect his system of thought.
Remember, energy/light cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed. If we fall short of our promises, we create a lack, a packet of negative energy, a cancer. As the Zohar said, this negative packet of energy WILL manifest itself somehow. Therefore, when we decide to do something we should be very careful to carry out our promises. A way to avoid this problem is to say, “bli neder” after you say you will do something.
The Ben Ish Chai says that the important thing is that the words of a person regarding holiness are not the same as his speech regarding mundane items. A person must consider very carefully what he undertakes to do regarding Holy matters and not to produce words from his mouth and make empty promises before Hashem. The biggest example of this is the promises we make to give charity. Many times people buy aliyot in Shul and forget about them or a meshulach comes to their door and they promise to send money. Also we promise to help a friend and forget about it.
This is a big secret!!! Please use it.
There is a Midrash which remarks that the spies’ mission failed specifically because it occurred during the time of the grape harvest. Ref: Bamidbar/Numbers 13:20. Moshe urged the spies to be strong reassured the spies that they have nothing to fear as Hashem would protect them. What does this all mean? What does the grape harvest have to do with the failure of the spies. Rabbi Shimshon of Ostropoli, explains that there are two periods during the year when the Satan possesses special power. The first is during the month of Tevet during the middle of winter, and the second period is the opposite end of the calendar, the months of Tammuz and Av, the summer months. These periods are vulnerable to spiritual damage. This is a time when Satan has more power to entrap people. It is no coincidence that the greatest tragedies in Jewish history occurred during these two months.
Rabbi Shimshon explains that the spies fell prey to the Satan because they embarked on their mission during the time when Satan is strongest. The period of the grape harvest occurred during the “dark” summer days, when Satan is at the height of his strength. The question remains, why is Satan associated with grapes? The Satan intoxicates like wine. Alcohol dulls our senses and prevents us from seeing things clearly. And that is exactly what the Satan does; it intoxicates our senses, preventing us from seeing things the right way.
In our day and age, these two months are the vacation season. A laid back attitude prevails and normal frum people, drastically lower their standards towards religious observance. Things that they would normally not do, become acceptable because it is the “vacation season.
The next question we need to ask is how did Yehoshua and Kalev avoid Satan’s trap. What was their secret?
Two things. Prayer and connecting to the Tzadikkim. Moshe prayed for Yohoshua and Kalev went to Hebron to pray at the tomb of Avraham. We need to draw strength and inspiration from Yehoshua and Kalev and strengthen our commitment to follow the ways of Hashem during these two months. It is no coincidence that Parashat Shelach, the story of the spies, is always read every year just before the summer. Summertime is Satan’s dream come true, and it is no coincidence. Don’t fall into his trap.
The next two months, Tammuz and Av, which is the hardest time of the year, are also the end of the year. Elul is connected to the new year, so Tammuz an Av are actually the end of the year. There is a Midrash that says that after Tu B’Av, when most of the negativity finishes, Heaven starts to set up chairs in the upper courts, getting ready for the new year.
The is a law that everything goes after the end. The Yetzer Hara is waiting for these two months of judgement. A person could have had a great year, yet if he slips in these months, the whole year can go up in smoke. BE CAREFUL, the Yetzer Hara is watching you.
The Zohar says the heat of summer is the heat of Geihinon (Hell). The Zohar explains that in these two months, the spiritual ozone protection is removed and therefore judgement is more prevalent. The Yetzer Hara uses this energy to create situations where we fall in our spiritual work. Remember the whole year depends on these two months. Be careful not to get angry in these two months.
Everyone has the exact same challenges as people born in this month. Don’t get sure of yourself and say that this does not apply to you because you are not born in this month. As with any challenge, the main thing is to just put our heads down and do the physical work, so that we can make our thoughts become a reality. Don’t let your dreams get filed away in your mind. Take action now, be happy and I promise you Hashem will grant you a good month. Be Happy. Smile.
Significant events in Jewish history that occurred during the Hebrew month of Tammuz
- 6 Tammuz (1976 CE) – Entebbe Rescue
- 9 Tammuz (circa 586 BCE) – Jerusalem walls breached by King Nebuchadnezzar, a date observed as a fast day until the second breaching of Jerusalem’s walls by the Romans on the 17th of Tammuz (70 CE)
- 17 Tammuz (circa 1312 BCE) – Golden Calf offered by the Jewish people, 40 days after the giving of the Torah at Har Sinai. This is the first of the 5 national tragedies mourned on this day.
- 17 Tammuz (circa 1312 BCE) – Smashing of the first Tablets by Moses.
- 17 Tammuz (circa 586 BCE) – The daily sacrifices in the Holy Temple were discontinued.
- 17 Tammuz (70 CE) – Walls of Jerusalem breached by the Roman army.
- 17 Tammuz The Romans burned the Torah and placed an idol in the Holy Temple
- 29 Tammuz (1105 CE) – Death of Rashi