The Month of Cheshvan is one of the least enjoyed in the Jewish Calendar.
One of the main reasons is because it’s a month devoid of any festivals. It seems
to be simply there as a bridge from the incredibly high month of Tishrei to the
next month of Kislev, when Chanukkah (the holiday everyone loves) starts. But,
besides being originally called MarCheshvan (“bitter” Cheshvan) since it lacks any
special observance, it also has the Zodiac sign of the Scorpio, something people
truly don’t look forward to.
As we are leaving now the bright month of Tishrei and entering Cheshvan
it’s important we understand what lies beneath its apparent lack of blessings!
Continue reading this article to learn some awesome deep secrets that the month
of Cheshvan teaches us!
Levels within levels
Kabbalah and Chassidut are very deep systems of wisdom. Their logic often
differs from what are used to, making them special from other forms of scientific
knowledge. One of the main reasons is because, by definition, they reveal a little
and hide a lot. Beneath the plain reading of the text one who knows how to gaze
deeply can find incredible gems to guide him. This is unique mechanism is built in
Creation by Hashem as a way of protecting this precious light, which is not only
too great, but also shouldn’t fall into wrong hands.
One of the most puzzling concepts in Kabbalah is understanding the many
spiritual systems (also called “Partzufim”) revealed to great detail by the Rasha’sh
(Rabbi Shalom Sharabi). As we mentioned in the previous articles, the Rasha’sh
divided all services and prayers into different “Partzufim”, which Hashem has
given us to fix in his infinite compassion and wisdom. For example, there’s a
Partzuf for the morning prayer, another for the Mitzvah of Shabbat, another for
studying, and so on. And each and every one of us has his/her own system making
us truly, spiritually unique and any comparison between each other completely
When it comes to the regular weekdays, each day is divided according to
one Sephirah (divine emanation) to be rectified. Thus, Sunday is Chesed, Monday
is Gevurah, Tuesday is Tiferet, Wednesday is Netzach, Thursday is Hod, Friday is
Yesod and Saturday (Shabbat) is Malkhut. But how is this conciliated with the
teaching of the Zohar that Pesach is Chesed, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and
Sukkot are Gevurah, Shavuot is Tiferet, Purim is Netzach, Chanukkah is Hod, Tu
B’Shvat and Tu B’Av are Yesod and Tisha B’Av is Malchut?
The answer is beautifully provided by the Rasha’sh: The system of the
regular weekdays is from the general Partzuf (or “level”) of Chesed, Gevurah and
Tiferet, while the system of the Festivals is of the level of Netzach, Hod and Yesod.
In other words, these 7 Sephirot of days and 7 Sephirot of festivals are included in
this greater system of another 6 Sephirot. Now, for those familiar with the Tree of
Life diagram, this presents a very big problem: how is the system of festivals on a
lower level than that of the weekdays?
Secrets of Hiddeness
The Arizal explains that the reason why the festivals are set apart from each
is because of the sin of Adam. When he ate from the fruit of Tree of Knowledge of
Good and Evil, the lights of the festivals became dispersed and their subsequent
rectification had to be done over a longer period of time.
In Sha’ar HaKavanot (Gate of Mystical Intentions), he teaches that the lights
that come to Creation each and everyday is like a little faucet that lets small drops
fall. When the festival comes, it’s as if “the Heavens open and pour down torrents
of rain [i.e. blessings]”.
So, how can we understand the teaching of the Rasha’sh that the festivals
happen to be in a lower level than the regular weekdays? It’s also important to
keep in mind that the Rasha’sh is considered by many great Kabbalists over the
ages to be the direct reincarnation of the Arizal, since thanks to his work that we
can truly make sense of Kabbalah. His work paved the way to understand many of
the difficulties the Arizal left in his writings.
The answer is that indeed, while we get a higher quantity of light on the
festivals than on regular weekdays, they may be in fact considered a form of
“clutch” since it’s easier to reach a higher level in them. It doesn’t take much
imagination to realize that one can much more easily be a Tzadik on Yom Kippur
and Rosh Hashanah than on a regular Monday any other day of the year!
Truly, we have to ride the waves Hashem sends us, and while the festivals
are indeed very high and enjoyable, there’s a time when we need to face the
world’s challenges without them!
In Tishrei, Hashem inspires, uplifts and gifts us with great blessings. It’s a
time when his presence is tangibly felt. But we are here to rectify the world
through our own efforts and must now face the month of Cheshvan, which is
devoid of all festivals!
But this doesn’t mean He abandoned us, and we would be remiss not to
address the apparently nasty Zodiac sign of Cheshvan, Scorpio. The word for
Scorpion is “Akvrav” עקרב which has the numerical value (Gematria) of 372. This
number is incredibly special because it is equal to the 2 fillings of the divine name
of lovingkindness אל (אלף למד), each of which is 185, plus 1 for each word [(185 x
2) + 2 = 372]. But if we take out the number for each word (which is perfectly
acceptable in the Gematria science), we are left with 370, the number denoting
the supernal lights of the Sephira of Keter from the world of Atzilut, brought in
the Zohar and writings of the Arizal.
As we can see, even when Hashem’s presence is hidden, he’s still very
much with us, especially as we enter the month of Cheshvan! May we all be
blessed to receive the 370 lights of the Supernal Face in the month of Cheshvan!
This article was written in the zechut of Michal Malka bat Tamar. May she have complete emuna and eternal success in all her endeavors as well as klal Israel.
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