What’s in a name.
The month of Tishrei begins the autumn season.
The 3 autumn months, Tishrei, Heshvan, Kislev,
correspond to the three tribes of the camp of
Efrayim, Efrayim, Menashe, Benjamin,
who were situated to the west of the Ohel Moed,
the Tent of Sacred Meeting.
In the Bible, Tishrei is called Yerach Ha’etanim, “the month of the strong” or “the month of the ancients.” Tishrei is the seventh month of the year. But in terms of the spirit counting of the year, it is the first month. The first day of Tishrei is Rosh HaShanah, the Head of the Year.
In Gematria, Tishrei permutes to ‘reishit,’ “beginning” (plus the Alef which is symbolic of G’s presence). Tishrei is a time of renewing our relationship with the Alef, the One, The Wholly One of Being.
As the seventh month of the Jewish Year, Tishrei is the month of the spirit, just as the seventh day is the day of spirit, Shabbat. The word “seven” comes from the word Savah, which means full or fullness. Tishrei begins with Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur and continues with Sukkot and Simhat Torah. It most certainly is a full month. It is also the month of opportunity for us to refill, renew and reform our spirit and to re-enter the Spirit Quest, the Sacred Journal for the year.
THE HEBREW LETTER: Lamed.
Lamed is the only letter of the Alef-Bet whose shape rises above the upper line, it reaches higher than any other letter. How fitting, for in this month, we stretch reaching for the heights of spiritual elevation.
On Sukkot we experience the Lamed of elevation on two levels. We want to bring heaven to earth and we want to bring earth to heaven. Therefore we take our Lulav and wave it to all directions then up and then down. The Lulav contains two lameds a calligraphic metaphor for our struggle for the two elevations.
Mazal (Zodiac): Moznayim (Libra – scale).
The scale symbolizes the Divine judgment of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. All of the deeds of humanity, the earthlings, and the two-leggeds are weighed in judgment.
Moznayim comes from the word oznayim (ears). It implies equilibrium and balance (the inner sense of the ears). Just as the inner ear contributes to our sense of physical balance, so to do the HolyDays of Tishrei contribute to our Spiritual Balance for the year to come.
Efrayim is the son of Joseph along with his brother Menashe. Efrayim and his brother represent the balance and harmony that can be found in family life.
The sense of touch is the only one of the five senses (taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch) which is not centered only in the face. In order to touch, we have to reach out to others. Tishrei, with its Awesome Days (High HolyDays), days of building and residing (Sukkot), days of shaking and raising (Lulav and Torah) compels us to reach out and to touch lives, to touch hearts and to touch souls. Tishrei is the time to reach out and be in touch.
That’s what’s in a name.