Tamuz, Av and Yosef
Once a week, the Yated Ne’eman is in my mailbox, as it is distributed for free to everyone. Sometimes it goes straight into the trash, other times, like today, I will peruse through it a bit. It was striking to me that the front page news all had to do with the secular courts of Israel trying to subjugate the Charedi world to its whims, whether in areas of chinuch or others. The inside of the paper was filled with the world trying to subjugate Israel to their whims, whether in the areas of the Gaza blockade (EU demands that Israel lift the blockade), or another set of flotilla ships, or the Israeli government giving up its better judgment and creating a committee to evaluate the previous flotilla incident. The first thought that went through my mind was that it is interesting that all the headlines in this charedi paper have to do with charedi issues, which is rather unusual. My second thought was that it is such a remarkable parallel between the way the Erev Rav of Israel (read: government/media/secular courts) is treating the religious world and the way the world at large is treating Israel. The cogs in my mind started turning and I thought about the fact that it is not a coincidence that these two things are occurring simultaneously, and that they are reaching a crescendo right now, as we begin the month of Tamuz and head into Av.
As I mentioned in the previous post, Yosef was born on Rosh Chodesh Tamuz. As I thought about this more, I realized that what this really means is that the concept of Yosef is conceived on Rosh Hashana and incubates for nine months and is delivered on Rosh Chodesh Tamuz. What does this mean as far as the connection between Tishrei and Tamuz? Tishrei is the beginning of the winter, when the world goes into hibernation, and the rain begins to fall, sending all of the world’s growth underground. It is all about the potential that is dormant in creation, that will be revealed in Nissan with the coming of the spring. When we get to Tamuz, there is another revelation of that same capacity. The world is sent back into a state of dormancy, although this time, it is within the revealed half of the year. This means that although the fruit is being harvested and the world is in full bloom, we enter into a place of concealed revelation.
This is analogous to another idea that we discussed in regards to Nissan and Iyar. Nissan is the open revelation of Geulah, whereas Iyar is a concealed version of that very same revelation, albeit in a form that must be revealed by human effort. In a similar way, the three month chain of Nissan-Iyar-Sivan constitutes an open revelation of Geulah, and a development of that open revelation, whereas the following three months of Tamuz-Av-Elul constitute the concealed version of that same revelation that needs to be unlocked through our concerted efforts.
If we take this to its logical conclusion, this means that Nissan parallels Tamuz. Nissan is the open revelation, and Tamuz is the concealed-open revelation. This, as we saw, is the month of the harvesting of the grapes, and the time that the spies were walking through Israel, potentially preparing for the Jewish people to enter Israel. Iyar, then, parallels Av. This means that just as Iyar is the concealed revelation within the revealed, Av is the concealed revelation within the concealed. Av is the month that has gone the deepest into concealment.
It is important to understand that the greater the concealment, however, the greater the potential light. This is because the light that one experiences is always a study in contrast. Our generation, which is the lowest generation that has ever existed, in spritual terms, is specifically the generation that will experience the light of Moshiach, because the revelation is meant to be as powerful as possible, and here we will have the greatest contrast. This is the secret of Av, and why world events always seem to peak during this time of year. This is the time of the greatest concealment, and ultimately will be the time of greatest revelation. This precisely parallels the phenomenon we see occurring now, where the nations of the world are at Israel’s throat, and the Erev Rav is at the throat of the Charedi world. This is the greatest darkness and lack of relationship, which really reflects the deeper truth that the Jewish people are meant to be in a truly wonderful relationship with the nations of the world, as are the Charedim meant to be in a relationship with the secular part of the Jewish people, where we radiate light out to them. Since we are still in the fallen state of concealment, however, everything looks like the opposite, and specifically takes on this characteristic in these months of Tamuz and Av.
Now, what is interesting is that the month of Sivan parallels the month of Elul. Sivan is the month of completion of the relationship between Hashem and the Jewish people, when we received the Torah after our invested efforts through the month of Iyar. Elul, it would seem, will be the month of the celebration of the relationship between the Jewish people and the nations of the world, in the future.
This gives us a great depth in understanding why Yosef was born in Tamuz. Tamuz is the time of potential for a cementing of the relationships that seem to be broken, in their current state. Yosef is all about relationship, as he is the one who is the master over his sexual passion, and he also is the one who consistently understood that the hatred of his brothers – the lack of relationship – was truly for the ultimate good, and was the plan of Hashem, in order to bring about a tremendous salvation. The Maharsha in Sanhedrin (12a) brings down that Moshiach ben Yosef works in the month of Av to accomplish his goals. Yosef is all about concealment – the brothers do not recognize him, but he recognizes them. Yosef does not have open revelations like Avraham, Yitzchak and Yakov. His revelations come to him in a dream, which is a much more concealed method of communing with the spiritual worlds. Nevertheless, through all the dreams, Yosef is able to discern that the Hand of Hashem is constantly guiding him. He is always able to see the Divine Providence, even within the evil itself!
When we look around and try to disperse the darkness of all that goes on, we can take chizzuk from the fact that Hashem reveals His plan and His actions to us in this way, even from within the darkness of exile. We must look at the hatred of the world for the Jew, and the hatred of the secular for the religious, and understand that somehow, just as Hashem used the hatred of the brothers to bring about a salvation through Yosef, so too, Hashem is creating a scenario, through the very hatred that so insidiously surrounds us, all in order to bring about the ultimate salvation of the Jewish people.
To further this idea, we know that originally, Tamuz, Av, and Ellul were given to Eisav, but Yaakov grabbed Ellul from him, and in the future, Yaakov will get Tamuz and Av as well (see Ben Ish Hai, Year 1, Parshat Devarim).
We also know that Yosef always comes Keneged Eisav.