When it rains, it pours. Hashem keeps showing me more patterns in time, and leading me to interesting places. This past Tuesday, I put out the eighth Moshiach podcast. I didn’t know why, but I had this sense of foreboding that something dark was going to happen on Wednesday. My intuition has been very strong and on the mark of late. Wednesday was the 20th of Sivan. The day came and went, and my intuition served me correctly, as it was a day of emotional intensity for numerous reasons. It resulted in the update on the eighth podcast, which I put out on Wednesday night. Thursday followed with some more difficult ups and downs for me. I ended up doing something I haven’t done in a long time – dancing through the streets of Jerusalem. I started in the old city, danced and sang through the ‘rova,’ continued through Me’ah She’arim and up Malchei Yisrael. I stopped twice to sing ‘Tanya,’ once for a group of Chassidishe children (about thirty of them – they told me to come back and sing the next day), and once for an elderly woman who was sitting in front of her old age home (she told me to come back and sing for the residents). Thursday night saw my best friend end up in the hospital, and I got to bond with his kids, especially his baby, who I comforted in the middle of the night. Friday and Shabbos were challenging, as well, and Hashem finally helped me out of the darkness on Motza’ei Shabbos, re-employing the unconditional love techniques that He has given me.
This morning, I woke up in a good mood, and after davening and my chevrusa, I sat down to learn a bit. I found myself noting that the 17th of Tammuz, which is the beginning of the three week mourning period for the destruction of the Temple, is exactly seventy days before Rosh Hashana. Clearly, there is a connection between the two days, as we have noted with the 25th of Adar vs. Shavuos, as well as 28th of Iyar (Yom Yerushalayim) and the 9th of Av. So I opened up my siddur to look at the selichos of the 17th of Tammuz, to remind myself of what happened then. It was strange, because I found something I don’t remember noticing before. There is actually a fast day on the 20th of Sivan, and a special group of selichos on that day. Last Wednesday, which I had felt a negative gut feeling about, was that day. I looked around for a siddur with some explanation on the day, and I found that it commemorates the massacres of “Tach V’Tat.” Although those occurred over a period of two years, or so, they are commemorated on the 20th of Sivan because of another tragedy that occurred on that day almost two hundred years earlier. The siddur also mentioned two more seemingly unrelated facts. One was that the 20th of Sivan was chosen because it never falls out on Shabbos, and the other was that the 20th of Sivan is a day that the fruits fully blossom. Interesting contrast.
As I continued to think about it, Hashem helped me realize that the 20th of Sivan is the beginning of the seven weeks leading up to Tisha B’av. If we were to line up this group of seventy days with the first group of seventy days (from 25th Adar to Shavuos), the 20th of Sivan corresponds to the first day of Chol Hamoed Pesach, which is the first day of the Omer (Chesed She’b’chesed). My intuition tells me that this counting of seventy corresponds precisely to that counting, only this counting is heading into the ‘other side’ – the sitra achra, the klipos. Thus, the 20th of Sivan represents the beginning of the power of the side of Evil, just as the first day of Chol Hamoed represents the beginning of the buildup to Shavuos – the giving of the Torah. (For more on the connection between the second day of Pesach and Shavuos, please listen to the podcast on Parshas Emor of this year.) What Shavuos is on the side of Good, Tisha B’av is on the side of Evil. Ultimately, the Evil itself will be redeemed and we will see the intense Goodness there as well, which is why the 9th of Av will be a holiday. In any event, as we noted previously, the 9th of Av, and therefore, the 20th of Sivan, as well, represent a time of Nesirah, of eclipse of reflective light. Ultimately, it is this eclipse that brings about the greatest light, when ultimately, the moon will shine its own light, instead of only reflecting the light of the Sun. This contrast within this last idea is reflected in the fact that the 20th of Sivan is a day that can not fall out on Shabbos. Shabbos is the seventh day, the aspect of Malchus, the female and reflection. And yet, at the same time, it is the day when the fruits are producing fully – it is a lack of reflection for the sake of an ultimate reflection.
My thoughts then went to the 17th of Tammuz, and I wondered what the connection is between that day and Rosh Hashana. Rosh Hashana is a very important day for Moshiach ben Yosef, as it is the day that Yosef Hatzaddik was released from jail and raised up to be the second only to Paroh. I realized, with Hashem’s help, that Rosh Hashana is the day that the very concept of Moshiach ben Yosef was born. The first day of Tishrei is when Adam Harishon was created and it was also the day that he sinned by eating from the Eitz Hada’as. This act was what created the need for a Moshiach ben Yosef to rectify that sin. The seventeenth of Tammuz shares this distinction as well, because Moshe Rabbenu had succeeded in returning the Jewish people to a state of Adam before the sin. The period of time from Pesach until Shavuos represents that reinstatement. The Jewish people repeated Adam’s sin on the seventeenth of Tammuz with their creation of the Golden Calf, resulting in the breaking of the Luchos containing the ten commandments. The return to Adamic consciousness was held off for another 3000 years. Thus, both of these days represent the fall creating the necessity for Moshiach ben Yosef, and thus they also contain the seed for the birth of Moshiach ben Yosef (as per R’ Akiva’s laughter).
In pondering Yosef’s rise to power, it is significant to note that Yosef is recalled by the wine-bearer of Paroh. As we mentioned in the seventh Moshiach podcast, the sin of Adam (according to one opinion) was with grapes, and thus the rectification comes through grapes/wine. It is remarkable that Yosef is called out of jail specifically by the wine-bearer, and it is through the vehicle of Yosef’s interpretation of his dream that involved these baskets of grapes. It is worth pondering the implications of this for Moshiach ben Yosef himself.
In thinking about the period of time from the 17th of Tammuz until Rosh Hashana, we again note a distinct pattern. There are the three weeks of mourning, which are the hidden brains (Keser-Chochma-Binah). These are followed by the ‘shiva d’nechemta’ – seven weeks of consolation, leading up to Rosh Hashana, which correspond to the lower seven Sefiros (Chesed-Gevurah-Tiferes Netsach-Hod-Yesod and Malchus). Through this next group of ten weeks – which overlap with the group of ten we are currently in – we begin to see the rise of Yosef, culminating with Rosh Hashana, when he is freed in a state of rectification.