The Month of Sivan

Sivan is the third of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar. The month of the giving of the Torah to Israel.

Letter: zayin.

Sivan is the third month of the year. 3 is a powerful number. It is a number representing balance, for to make something stand we need 3 points on the ground (a tripod). G gave the tripod of Torah, Neviem, and Ketuvim to a tripod of tribes, Kohanim, Leviim and Yisraelim in the third month, Sivan by three leaders Moshe, Aharon, and Miriam.” And yet the number most associated with Sivan, because it is the most found in Torah is the number 7 or Zayin.

The Torah was given on Shabbat, the seventh day of the week. According to Rabbi Yosi, the Torah was given on the seventh day of Sivan. Zivebulun, the tribe of Sivan, begins with the letter zayin.

There are many traditional identifications with zayin. The sages identify the zayin with the word zeh (‘this’), signifying “the transparent plane”, that unique level of prophesy given to Moshe, as it says, Moshe saw G “face to face!” (Deut. 34:10) My translation would be that “Moshe got a hit of G’s essence.” Oh and by the way, according to tradition, Moshe was born and passed away on the seventh of Adar which is the 12th month of the year. Zayin + Hey (the word ‘Zeh’, ‘this’) = 12.

The Torah-portions of the month of Sivan are from the beginning of the Book of BaMidbar (Numbers) which means “In the wilderness.” In the third Parsha or portion of BaMidbar, B’Ha’alotcha, there is a very strange occurrence. There are 2 verses which is separated from the Torah text that precedes it and that follows it by two “upside-down nuns” (Bamidbar 10:35, 36). Our sages taught that the purpose of the Nuns (the letter not the women in black habits) was to divide the Torah into seven books, instead of five. The proof text used is from Proverbs, regarding wisdom: “She carved her pillars seven.” (Proverbs 9:1). If we take the 7 of this drash and 5 for the normally counted books of Torah we find zayin (7) and hei (5) which spell zeh, that unique level of prophesy that Moshe attained.

Even the shape has power for us. The shape of the letter zayin is a vav with a crown on top. This could play out as 6 days of creation for the vav and the crown being Shabbat. Or, to play the Gematria game, the number of letters in the Asert HaDibrot (called The Ten Commandments) is 620 which = keter, “crown.”

Mazal: teomim (Gemini–twins).

The twins refer to the “Two table of the covenant” as we sing in Seders, referring again to the Asert HaDibrot (Ten commandments).

That moment at Sinai when we accepted the covenant is a symbolic wedding between the Jewish people and G. The giving of the Torah to Israel like the Ketubah, the wedding contract. In the Song of Songs (5:2), the highest level of marriage is referred to as bride and groom being identical twins (tamati, which our sages read teomati).

The archetypal twins of the Torah are, Jacob and Esau. These twins opposites, the Yin and Yang of brothers. Jacob represents the Yetzer HaTov the creative positive while Esau represents the Yetzer HaRah the creative negative. We are commanded to love G-d “with all of your heart” and the word heart is written with 2 vets instead of one. The Rabbis interpreted that to mean with both creative aspects of our heart. In the two tables of the covenant, one side addresses the relationship between the human and G and the other relates to societal laws, again the Yin and Yang of life.

Tribe: Zevulun.

Zevulun is commonly pictured as the “worldly one,” who supports the Torah study of his scholarly brother, Isaachar. In Kabbalah cause is said to have a higher power than effect. The Arizal explains therefore, that the origin of the soul of Zevulun is in Keter (the highest emanation or above the emanations), and the soul of Isaachar, is in Hochmah below it.

Sense: walking (progress, dynamic).

Here, “walking” means the sense of continuous, ongoing progress. The word Halacha is usually translated as law but in reality it comes from the word for walking and means “the path,” or “the way to go.” Our sages interpret the verse: “the walkings of the world are to Him” (Habakuk 6:4), that he who studies halacha daily will surely merit the world to come. We might put it differently, the person who carefully examines his path will find that it leads to the heights in the world to come.

Controller: left foot.

With regard to any pair of “right” and “left,” according to Jewish tradition, the “right” is relatively “spiritual” while the “left” is relatively “physical.” In the words of the Lubavither Rebbe in a work called Bati L’Gani (the title comes from a quote from Song of Songs: (I entered my garden”) “He stretched out His right hand and created the heavens and stretched out His left hand and created the earth.” So the left foot refers to the physical act of feet which is walking.