Chodesh Iyar: Love From a Distance

According to the Zohar, each of the twelve months of the year corresponds to one of the twelve tribes of Yaakov. The month of Nisan corresponds to Reuven, the month of Iyar, to Shimon, and the month of Sivan to Levi.

The Shem Mishmuel explains the significance of these associations. Reuven signifies the concept of vision. Shimon connotes the concept of listening. Seeing creates a greater sense of awareness than just hearing. While listening is just hearsay evidence, visual observation is clear and precise.

In Nissan there is a close, firsthand awareness of Hashem and his connection to us. Iyar is a month of great distance. We mourn the tragic loss of the students of Rabbi Akiva and the loss of the beit hamikdash, which that terrible event represented.

Although it seems we are far from our beloved king, we shouldn’t in any way think that Iyar is really worse than Nissan. The period of Sefirat haOmer is a time of inner work and elevation. Hashem placed the soul in this world so that it would struggle to search and ultimately find its Creator. Overcoming difficulties unleashes untapped energies and causes a person to grow.


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