This week marks Rosh Chodesh Tammuz as well as Gimmel Tammuz, the date of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s passing and also the beginning of the liberation of the Sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe. Tammuz is represented by the tribe of Reuven, Jacob’s firstborn.
This month is also connected to the tikkun for the sin of the spies. Moses sent spies that journeyed throughout the Land of Israel during the entire month of Tammuz and, except for Joshua and Caleb, viewed the Land of Israel in a negative light.
Tammuz also is connected to several tragedies that occurred on the 17th day of this month. Among these tragedies is the destruction of the first tablets containing the Ten Commandments, as well as the breach of the walls of Jerusalem. However, Tammuz is also connected with the final redemption. In the future, when we ultimately repent and are redeemed, the 17th of Tammuz will no longer be a day of fasting and mourning, but rather a day of celebration.
The transformation and teshuvah of Tammuz parallels that of Reuven. Jacob took away Reuven’s firstborn rights after a severe mistake he made involving one of his father’s concubines. Reuven spent his entire life doing teshuvah for his sin. The Torah recognizes his repentance, still referring to Reuven as the firstborn son of Jacob long after the unfortunate event took place.
It is interesting to note that just as the bear’s song makes explicit references to Arabia (Kedar), the Talmud contains various stories of how Elijah would disguise himself as an Arab when he would appear before tzadikim, either as a way to test or help them.
The letters that form the number thirty-nine, lamed and tet, spell out the word tel, which means mountain. The laws pertaining to Shabbat are known as "mountains on a wire," because a vast number of prohibitions are deduced from just a few explicit verses in the Torah.
Rabbi Meir states that we should minimize our commercial activities in order to focus ourselves in Torah study. He advises us to be humble towards everyone. Furthermore, he teaches that if we waste Torah study time, we will find many obstacles against us, but if we toil greatly in its study, we will find abundant reward. Rabbi Meir’s words are also connected to Tammuz, Reuven and the process of teshuvah, demanding that we humbly transform any lack of dedication to the Torah (which caused such obstacles and tragedies for our people), into full dedication and toil, leading ultimately to enormous reward.