A Sacred Time – Teves #5
The Sefer Yetzirah—possibly the Jewish mystical text of earliest origin—reveals that the letter associated with the month of Tevet is ayin. The letter ayin has a numerical value of seventy. There are seventy facets to every aspect of Torah. Rebbe Nachman teaches that the seventy facets of Torah counter the negative influence of the seventy original, root nations. Tevet is known to be a very difficult month spiritually—and that’s reflected in the harshness of its weather—because it is a time when heavenly judgment is strong.
The astrological sign of Tevet is the goat, which symbolizes Esav. Esav is called the “ish Seir”—“the man of Seir” which means both that he was of the place Seir and also that he was like a “goat,” because he had been born with a pelt of hair. The root of the word Esav is asiyah, which means action. During the harshest part of winter we fight the elements and are especially involved in the world of action, we get moored by the material—securing the basics of food, clothing and shelter under difficult conditions. We need to work especially hard to remember our spiritual calling when the world of action has such a powerful hold on us.
A goat is an active, bold animal. This alludes to the great effort and boldness required to maintain our spiritual connection even deep in darkness. The nights are longer during this month, but we have an easier time getting through them when we feel that God is near.
While I frantically shovel snow off my roof or driveway before it freezes, it is so hard to stay spiritual. When my heating system is hardly working or not working at all, keeping my mind on my Creator is a mighty struggle. When will I internalize that God is right here, especially when things are difficult? All I need to do is push through the darkness and speak out my heart to my Creator. Every word is heard and endures forever.
Master of the world, I beg You—please help me thorough the hard month of Tevet. Don’t let the harsh weather and the long nights stop my spiritual progress! Show me how to struggle with “goat-like” energy, and in this way transform the force of Esav into a power that brings me closer to You. It is so easy to forge an eternal connection to You despite the darkness. All I need to do is tell You what is on my heart. Even just saying this short prayer is a great beginning!