I wanted to get this posted at the beginning of the month of Av, but I’ve been too busy to edit! Every year as I am intentional about celebrating the Moonthly Cycle, Abba has me focus on a particular area, a lot of which is not in my book on celebrating the New Moon. I plan to share my monthly notes from our local gatherings with you, but changing my notes to a blog post that makes sense to a reader requires quite a bit of editing. Better late than never!
- Month: Five (11th month on civil calendar)
- Tribe: Shimon
- Sense: Hearing
- Seasons/Feasts: Three Weeks (Dire Straits – from Tammuz 17 to Av 9), Transition by Tu B’Av (Av 15), Fast on Av 9.
- Theme: From destruction and mourning to comfort and joy, especially in relation to the House of Adonai.
Month five has correlations with day five of creation. That is the day that the birds and fish were created to swim and fly through the wind and water currents of the earth. These are also those that rapidly spread Seed from continent to continent. Seeds can be likened to words or even THE Word. Words can destroy or words can bring Good News, a comfort to the world. In the following offering, see if you can pick out the themes of day five of creation.
Months four and five are connected by the Three Weeks. The sense of Tammuz was sight/seeing/vision, and the sense of Av is hearing/listening. Let’s consider the differences. The sense of seeing is more akin to having spiritual vision or being able to “see” the truth and promises of God despite what one’s circumstances and natural vision suggests. (Ex. The evil report of the ten spies. Joshua and Caleb saw the same thing as the other spies; and yet, Caleb declared, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” [Num. 13:30, Jos. 14:6-15])
This implies that we will face spiritual forces, like giants that have fortified cities, which are people and circumstances that are much stronger than we are during Av (beginning in Tammuz). And yet, the lesson to be learned is to choose to believe the promises of YHWH despite what one sees or hears in the natural. The One in you is stronger than any enemy or circumstance. Fear not.
In light of that, I have a few questions for you to ponder from last month.
- How many of you were tested in the sense of “seeing” during the month of Tammuz?
- What giant did you face?
- What enemy within a fortified (strong) city sought to discourage you?
- Based on the Torah portions of Tammuz, did you struggle with proper or improper authorities?
From Seeing to Hearing
Gen. 29:33 (NASB) Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon.
Shimon means to hear, shema. “We will hear and we will do.” The irony of the sense of seeing coming before hearing in the months is that we cannot see without hearing first. Even a baby in the womb hears before he sees. Biblical or Spiritual vision is the ability to see what is heard: the WORD of YHWH.
What voice have you been listening to? Protect your ears! When things “look” bad in the natural do you hear a voice that says that you deserve calamity? That says, you are worthless, that you are not good enough, that you are UNLOVED by your Husband, like Leah?
If so, it’s time to give birth to Shimon. Adonai hears you, you must hear Adonai. In the Torah, Simeon and Levi act rashly with their swords on account of their sister Dinah. This cost each of these tribes a true portion or inheritance in the Land. They would be scattered in Israel. (Gen. 49) Thus, patience and waiting for the authority over us to give instruction is a test in one’s “hearing.” Just because you know something, doesn’t mean you have the authority to be the judge and executioner. A much better example of a godly Shimon is found when baby Yeshua is presented in the Temple or House of Adonai:
Luke 2:25-35 (NASB) And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation (comfort) of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to himby the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.” 33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
In the above passage, there is a righteous man named Simeon, one who hears. Simeon believed what he HEARD. Go back and look at the bolded and underlined words and phrases above. Do you “see” the words associated with hearing and seeing? Shimon was LOOKING for the consolation of Israel, that is their comfort, which ties perfectly into the themes of the Three Weeks, and the consolation of Tu B’Av. By following the moonthly cycle, we practice and prepare for this flow of time (that is, was, and is to come) in the seasons each year. Consider these verses:
Jer. 31:9-14 (NASB) “With weeping they will come, and by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, on a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.” 10 Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare in the coastlands afar off, and say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” 11 For the LORD has ransomed Jacob and redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he. 12 “They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion, and they will be radiant over the bounty of the LORD—Over the grain and the new wine and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; And their life will be like a watered garden, and they will never languish again. 13 “Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together, For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. 14 “I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the LORD.
From weeping and mourning to consolation and joy. That is the connection between Tammuz and Av. We should expect our own walk each year to reflect the same. Simeon’s reward for believing and obeying – true HEARING- the Word of God was that he could SEE the Comforter, Yeshua, the Consolation of Israel. And even then, the revelation was not complete as we are still awaiting His return and the fullness of the passage above. Until then, we practice. We remember. We see, and we hear.
Destruction of the House
Closely related to the above is remembering the destruction of Temple, mourning its loss, and believing for its renewal. Thus, I offer a little review. According to tradition, the first Temple was destroyed because idolatry, and the second Temple was destroyed on the account of baseless hatred among brothers. Essentially, this is God’s people breaking the two greatest commandments of loving Him and our neighbor as ourselves. Not doing so, destroys His House (and ours!).
Since Tammuz 17thmarks the beginning of the Three Weeks leading up Tisha B’Av (9thof Av), the date that both Temples were destroyed, we should expect to have tests and trials in this area, at this season.
What is the “House” or “Temple”?
- The Body of Messiah
- Our physical bodies
- The Temple Mount/Zion/place of physical Temple
- Your family
- Your Assembly
Were any of you tested (or still being tested) in one of these areas? Have you been in a battle to keep these things from being destroyed? What is the purpose in this testing? Can’t God just take it away?
The Hidden Goodness in Av
When we see war, calamity, destruction, unfavorable circumstances with people or life in general, we have a choice to make. If God is truly for us, and we really believe that, then we must adjust our vision, outlook, and attitude to align with the Good News that we have HEARD.
Ps. 119:91-92 (NASB) They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants. 92 If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.
Mat. 19:26 (NASB) And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Eph. 1:11 (NASB) also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will…
Do we really believe that ALL things are in God’s hands and control? That even the bad and hard things serve His purposes and are meant for our good, BECAUSE He loves us? There is a story in the Mishnah about a certain Rabbi called Nahum Gamzu that can help us adjust our attitude. I’ve written in other places about the month of Av being referred to as Menachem Av, or Comforting Father. The rabbi in the story below shares this name, Nachum, comforter. It is meant to not only redirect one’s vision or perception of life’s circumstances, but bring one consolation or comfort.
The Gemara inquires: And why did they call him Naḥum of Gam Zu? The reason is that with regard to any matter that occurred to him, he would say: This too is for the good [gam zu letova]. Once, the Jews wished to send a gift [doron] to the house of the emperor. They said: Who should go and present this gift? Let Naḥum of Gam Zu go, as he is accustomed to miracles. They sent with him a chest [sifta] full of jewels and pearls, and he went and spent the night in a certain inn. During the night, these residents of the inn arose and took all of the precious jewels and pearls from the chest, and filled it with earth. The next day, when he saw what had happened, Naḥum of Gam Zu said: This too is for the good.
When he arrived there, at the ruler’s palace, they opened the chest and saw that it was filled with earth. The king wished to put all the Jewish emissaries to death. He said: The Jews are mocking me. Naḥum of Gam Zu said: This too is for the good. Elijah the Prophet came and appeared before the ruler as one of his ministers. He said to the ruler: Perhaps this earth is from the earth of their father Abraham. As when he threw earth, it turned into swords, and when he threw stubble, it turned into arrows, as it is written in a prophecy that the Sages interpreted this verse as a reference to Abraham: “His sword makes them as the dust, his bow as the driven stubble” (Isaiah 41:2).
There was one province that the Romans were unable to conquer. They took some of this earth, tested it by throwing it at their enemies, and conquered that province. When the ruler saw that this earth indeed had miraculous powers, his servants entered his treasury and filled Naḥum of Gam Zu’s chest with precious jewels and pearls and sent him off with great honor.
When Naḥum of Gam Zu came to spend the night at that same inn, the residents said to him: What did you bring with you to the emperor that he bestowed upon you such great honor? He said to them: That which I took from here, I brought there. When they heard this, the residents of the inn thought that the soil upon which their house stood had miraculous powers. They tore down their inn and brought the soil underneath to the king’s palace. They said to him: That earth that was brought here was from our property. The miracle had been performed only in the merit of Naḥum of Gam Zu. The emperor tested the inn’s soil in battle, and it was not found to have miraculous powers, and he had these residents of the inn put to death. – Taanit 21a
If we want to transition to the comfort of Av, or find the joy that comes after mourning, we must be able to “see” the world with eyes like Nachum Gamzu. Can we really say, “This too, is for the best”? In every situation? Even the bad ones?
We currently see only dimly. We must mourn destruction and exile (both physically and spiritually). But we must also try to “hear” the goodness that is hidden in the bitterness of any destruction we encounter in this life and KNOW that Mashiach will come to comfort us, One Day showing us how “this too was really for the best.”
Paul mirrors this sentiment in Second Corinthians. Tu B’Av or the fifteen of Av just passed a few days ago on the calendar. I hope that you are beginning to see the Light after a period of darkness and heavy trials. Be encouraged dear one, in ALL things, rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for your King is Coming to you!
And in ALL things, be able to say, “Gam zu l’tovah!”
2Co 4:7-18 (NASB) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you. 13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe; therefore, we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
*** By the way, those of you that decided to share your journal of the months with me, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your monthly results. (I will not make you or your notes public.) Please do not include personal names or organizations when describing trials, issues, or circumstances. Thank you!