A Sacred Time – Tammuz #6
The tribe associated with the month of Tammuz is Reuven. The Midrash explains that Reuven is a contraction for r’eu ven, and the Chassidic writings reveal that this conveys a powerful message: “perceive [r’eu] that you are a child [ben] of G-d.” But the word ven or ben has another connotation as well. The Arizal writes that its numerical value is the same as behemah, or animal. Reb Nosson explains that this alludes to all of our behaviors that fall far short of our true human potential. It is precisely in those areas where we are still exercising our more animalistic nature that we must learn to accept who we are while waiting for G-d’s assistance. This hopeful waiting is also associated with the beheimah-aspect of our natures, since cattle wait patiently to be fed and led. We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of deferring being happy until after we have perfected our defects. We need to be thankful and joyous right now that we are each a child of G-d, even as we honestly confront our weaknesses and faults—those times our animal soul reigns supreme.
Dear G-d. Please help me use the double edged power of Reuven. Help me to honestly confront my shortcomings…while I am energized and comforted by the joy of knowing that I’m still Your beloved child.