The Sefer Yetzirah, a fundamental text of the Jewish Kabbalah, details a peculiar correlation between each month of the Jewish year and a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, a zodiac sign, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, a human sense and an organ of the body.
Sivan: The Month of the Giving of the Torah, From the Perspective of the Kabbalah
Sivan, the third month of the Jewish calendar is especially significant since it is credited with giving the Torah to Israel.
The month of Sivan is linked to the yellow-orange color, the Hebrew letter Zain and the zodiac sign Gemini (Theomim in Hebrew). This month is also assigned to the tribe of Zebulun and the meaning of “walking”. As mentioned in the Sefer Yetzira each of these elements is intrinsically connected and plays an important role in this month’s Kabbalistic interpretation.
Sivan, although it is the third month of the Jewish year has a profound link with the number seven, which is reflected in its corresponding letter Zain which has a numerical value of seven.
The letter Zain in the Torah: The prophecy of Moses and its relation to the month of Sivan”
It is believed that the Torah was given in Sivan, precisely on Shabbat, the seventh day of the week and according to some Rabbis, on the seventh day of Sivan. In addition, Zebulun, the tribe associated with Sivan begins with the letter zain, reinforcing the relationship with the number seven.
The letter Zain is also associated with Moses’ supreme level of prophecy. Sages identify zain with the Hebrew word “Ze” (this) which reflects Moses’ unique prophecy. Since he was born and died on the 7th of Adar (the twelfth month of the Jewish year) and the Gematria (numerical value) of “Ze” is 12 the connection is strengthened.
The month of Sivan leads to the initial portions of the Book of Numbers, particularly Behalotja where we find a section of two verses that are separated from the text that precedes and follows them. According to the sages, this symbolizes the division of the Torah into seven books, rather than the usual division into five.
The letter zain is in the shape of a VAV with a crown on its head, symbolizing the crown that each Jewish soul received in the giving of the Torah. The Ten Commandments have 620 letters, which match the numerical value of the word “Keter” (crown).
Iacob and Esav: The two twins of the Torah and their symbolism in Sivan
In the zodiac, Sivan is related to Geminis, the twins. This correlation evokes the two tables of the testimony that Moses received on Mount Sinai.
The Kabbalah describes the giving of the Torah as a kind of wedding between God and Israel and in the Song of Songs (5:2), the highest level of marital union is symbolized by two identical twins.
However, the Torah presents two very different twins, Iacob and Esav who symbolize the two opposing inclinations present in every Jew.
Even so, the force of the Torah delivered in Sivan has the power to rectify and unite these two opposites.
The Physical and Spiritual Dimension of Walking in Sivan: A Kabbalistic Analysis
The tribe associated with Sivan is Zebulun, often portrayed as the “businessman” who supports his brother Isajar’s study of the Torah. According to Arizal, one of the great teachers of Kabbalah, the origin of Zebulun’s soul is found in “Keter” above the soul of Isajar, which is in “Jochma”.
The Kabbalah relates Sivan to the sense of “walking” and to the left foot as a controlling organ. Walking, in this context, symbolizes the sense of constant and dynamic progress. While talking is a more spiritual act, walking has a more physical dimension, although both have an inner spiritual dimension.
With all of these elements in consideration, we see that the month of Sivan embodies a wide range of profound meanings and kabbalistic connections.
This month not only commemorates the giving of the Torah to Israel but also reflects the interrelationship of numerous fundamental elements and concepts of Kabbalah and Jewish wisdom.
The richness of these connections invites us to deepen our understanding of Judaism and appreciate the complexity and beauty of the Jewish tradition.