The Month of Tishrei is more than simply a time when the High Holidays fall. We are in nothing less than one of the most propitious times for miracles and salvations which anyone can tap into, should we put our minds to it. This month is not only suffused with the holiness of the festivals and mitzvot, but also inherently carries the potential for tremendous positive transformations in our lives.
Tishrei is also the male counterpart of Nissan, and officially the time when winter begins. That is, at least in a Kabbalistic sense, even though we can still feel warm here in Israel. The permutations associated with this month are והיה and יהאה and, like Nissan, the dominant Sephirah is Chesed (lovingkindness), from the male aspect of divine providence.
But more importantly, it was in the first day of this month that Adam, the creature composed of the first man and the first woman was created.
A person is a small world
There are many wonders to be found in the words of our sages. We can interpret and learn a lot merely from the simplest sense, but if we dig deeper, we can learn even more valuable lessons for our lives.
The Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin 22a) teaches that "Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.". Right off the bat, we learn from here the great sanctity of life and the need to preserve it.
We can however take a step further and ask “what does it mean to be a small world (in Hebrew, Olam)”? The Sefer Yetzirah teaches there are 5 dimensions to Creation, called Olam (“world”), Shana (“year”, i.e. time), Nefesh (“soul”). The physical world consists of 3 dimensions itself and parallel the 6 lower sephirot that we know (Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod and Yesod), and the 6 sides of a cube (up, down, front, back, left and right). Time (Shana) is the fourth dimension associated with Chokhmah (future), Bina (past) and Da’at (present). The fifth dimension is that of Good and Evil, and corresponds to the Sephirot of Keter (good) and Malkhut (evil), though this can be misleading and shouldn’t be taken literally.
Many Kabbalists teach that the Torah encompasses the totality of existence, and is present in every detail of Creation. We can, for example, consider a time frame of a year and visualize all the festivals neatly displayed in their appropriate dates. If we zoom in on a certain month, we’d still find the same spiritual configuration displayed, though of course we wouldn’t be bound to celebrate these “micro-festivals”. But the energy is there, in a smaller scale.
The same can be said to a person, which is a “miniature world”. Torah is the blueprint of Creation and of humankind itself. A proof to this can be found in Sha’ar HaPesukim (Gate of Verses), in which the Arizal teaches that the many names of the tribes’ leaders and families correspond to different powers of the soul, so we see that the Torah is, in a way, inside every one of us and hints to the many aspects of our souls. When we pray or recite verses, we are in effect reverberating through Creation and activating from our souls the forces that we wish to affect! This is the power Hashem gave us in his infinite wisdom.
Adam and the totality of human souls
The name Adam is not only the name first man (and woman together), but is in a sense related to everyone. His birth in the first of Tishrei symbolizes the renewal of all souls in a macrocosmic level. The word “Rosh” (from Rosh Hashana and Rosh Chodesh), is related to Chokhmah (wisdom) and the renewal and potential for life. This is found in the verse in Ecclesiastes chapter 7: החכמה תחיה בעליה (“Wisdom enlivens its owner”) and also in Likkutey Moharan 1:1, in which Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches that Chokhmah is the source of life.
We also find in the writings of the Rashas’h (Rabbi Shalom Sharabi) that Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Shmini Atzeret are one big spiritual system that comprises the first 22 days of the month of Tishrei. As Adam was born with full vitality, so too our souls are renewed on this day and refreshed with new invigorating life.
During this month, Teshuva, personal prayer, mitzvot and Torah study are incredibly important and much more valuable as the 13 attributes of mercy are revealed and shine through it, we just need to make our effort, as our sages teach in the Midrash on Shir HaShirim: "פתחו לי פתח כחודה של מחט ואני אפתח לכם כפתחו של אולם" which is like Hashem is saying: “Open for me [in your hearts] an opening the size of a needle’s hole and I will open for you an opening of [an entire] chamber [of blessings]!”
May we merit to make the most of this very special month and always go higher, closer to Hashem!
This article was written in the zechut of Yelena (Jewish name Eliana). May She have excellent health and complete emuna.
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