A Sacred Time – Tammuz #4
“Remember! A person must travel on a very narrow bride. The main thing is not to be afraid!” Likutey Moharan, II:48.
Chet is the letter associated with Tammuz in Sefer Yetzirah. In a Torah scroll, that letter resembles a narrow bridge—two posts and thin line that bridges them. The month of Tammuz brings in its wake difficult times. We fast on the Seventeenth of Tammuz because on that day the walls of Jerusalem were placed under seige. Our sages explain that Jerusalem is considered rebuilt for those who have da’at—an integrated awareness of G-d. But for those who do not attain da’at, the opposite is true: the destruction of Jerusalem and its sanctuary is rooted in a pervasive lack of Divine awareness.
What do I do if the walls of my da’at have been breached? What if I feel bitter and broken, “beset and besieged,” as the verse put it?
One way to temper the harshness of Tammuz is to utilize Rebbe Nachman’s powerful imagery of a narrow bridge—the chet of this month. I am on a narrow bridge and it’s only natural that my fears tend to paralyze me, leading to despair. But Rebbe Nachman said that even though it’s natural to feel afraid on that bridge, the main thing is to overcome it. The fear and despair stems from uncertainty about making the crossing—but if I work to internalize the knowledge that G-d is with me all the while, my fears can be overcome.
It’s natural that I will feel like I am in a hard place at times; my main test then is not to allow the visceral, unthinking, disconnected fear to take over. I catch myself on my narrow bridge, and remember that these feelings are merely expressions of the narrow bridge that I am on right now. When I follow Rebbe Nachman’s directions and fight fear until it passes and things get better, I am slowly repairing the breached walls of my Jerusalem.