Monday, September 30, 2013

Parallels Between the Five Books of the Torah and the Sefirot, As Well As Between the Torah Stages of Development and the Months of the Year

It appears that the Five Books of the Torah generally follow the pattern of the 7 emotional sefirot during the year, with the Book of Bereshit falling in the weeks of Chesed and Gevurah; Shemot including the weeks of Tiferet and Netzach; Vayikra, Hod; Bamidbar, Yesod; and finally Devarim, Malchut.

The twelve stages of Torah development set forth by Pinchas ben Yair, elucidated in the Ramchal's (Rabbi Moshe Luzzato) Mesilat Yesharim (Path of the Just), also appear to parallel the twelve months of the year:

TorahTishrei  - month filled with holidays and Torah related activity;

Zehirut, watchfulness  – Cheshvan - month of the flood, care not to sin so close after Tishrei;

Zrizut, alacrity Kislev - is the quality that defines the Kohanim, the heroes of Chanukah and this month as a whole);

Nekiut, cleanliness – Teveth (Ramchal explains that Nekiut means cleanliness from all sin, including those that we rationalize; Teveth is known for sins related to the tribe of Dan; Shimshon, from Dan, is an example of rationalization gone awry.

Prishut, "separateness"Shvat - Ramchal explains Prishut means abstinence from pleasure, even those permitted, if they could eventually lead to sin; Shvat is related to pleasure of fruits, etc.;

Taharah, purity – Adar - Ramchal explains Taharah means purity in our desires and emotions; in Purim we get drunk and let our emotions and desire come out - hopefully they will be pure;

Chassidut, pietyNissan - Ramchal explains Chassidut, piety, means going above and beyond to serve Hashem in every way possible to the best of our ability; the best example of this would be cleaning on Pessach, where every effort is praiseworthy;

Anavah, humility – Iyar - Ramchal explains that anavah means humility before G-d and others; the problem of Iyar, month of counting of the omer, is that the students of Rabbi Akivah did not respect one another - they each thought too highly of themselves in comparison to their fellow students - this showed a lack of humility; on Lag Ba'Omer we celebrate Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who had this quality;

Yirat Chet, fear of sinSivan - Ramchal explains that Yirat Chet, fear of sin, in this context, means fear connected to the realization of Hashem's greatness and magnitude; as we realize this greatness we are literally ashamed of in any way going against G-d's desires; this was exemplified at the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai;

Kedushah, holiness – Tammuz - Ramchal explains that Kedushah means clinging to G-d at all times, and completely disconnecting from physicality; this is represented by Reuven, who was in a constant state of Teshuvah after the sin that took place regarding his father's bed;

Ruach haKodesh, the holy spirit – Av - Ruach haKodesh, is most associated with Mashiach, who is called Ruach Apeinu, the spirit of our nostrils, and who will be endowed with the spirit of G-d;


Tchiat haMetim, resurrection of the dead – Elul - in Elul we repent for our sins and prepare ourselves to be given new life for the coming year. A sinful person is called "dead" even while alive, while a righteous person even after death is called "alive."
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