Saturday, January 4, 2014


We are now in the month of Shevat which is symbolized by the zodiac sign Aquarius. The Jewish version of the sign is just a "bucket" and named "delee" - the Hebrew word for "bucket". I have seen in the Ben Ish Chai and B'nei Yissachar that "delee" is the zodiac sign of the Jewish people. The B'nei Yissachar elaborates that this is because Judaism is about creating vessels to hold the light - just like a bucket is a vessel to hold water.

Shevat is known for containing the holiday of Rosh Hashana or New Year for trees, especially fruit bearing trees. There is a classic dispute between the two ancient sages Shammai and Hillel. Shammai held that the New Year for trees is on the 1st of the month, when the moon is just born. Hillel held that the New Year is on the 15th of the months, when the moon is full.

This reflects a difference in their general approaches. Shammai's approach was to focus on the potential. Hillel's was to focus on the practical. So when building a vessel to receive divine blessings, there could be a lot lost in the transition between potential and practical. When there's a lot lost, then Shammai and Hillel are at odds as to what to celebrate - the potential or the actual. However, let's pray that when we build our vessels to receive blessings, we actualize our full potentials. Then Shammai and Hillel is agree on what to celebrate - for the actual matches the potential. Then the full sap will be present in all the fruits of our labors.

This ties into this week's Torah portion, as the Jews get ready to leave Egypt. Every drop of potential to build them into vessels to receive the Torah was given to them - even if it seemingly delayed the exodus. Only when the time was right, they were ripe fruits for the Sinai revelation.

1 comment:

  1. Comments from FaceBook version of the post:

    Kelly: Beautiful. Shabbat Shalom, Choni

    Yamile: Shabbat Shalom Dear Choni ! Amazingly beautiful post. !!!

    Eric: Shabbat Shalom, Choni.

    Renee: Beautiful..Shabbat Shalom to you & yours.

    Brenda: Great lesson Choni

    Batya: Very meaningful

    Debbie: Shabbat Shalom! Thank you for the information! Shammai, & Hillel didn't seem to agree a lot. That disagreement caused Channukkah Candles to be placed one way into the Menorah, & lit another way. I keep confusing which way is for putting the candles in, & which way is lighting them.

    Choni : Shavuah Tov Kelly, Yamile, Eric, Renee, Brenda, Batya & Debbie.

    Choni: To Debbie, Shammai held that we begin on the first night with eight candles, continue on the second night with seven ... until the 8th night we light one. Hillel held we do the opposite. We light one on the first night ... add one on each night ... until we're at eight candles on the eight night. Again this underscores the same theme. Shammai sought the potential which lies at the core of things. Therefore, we start with many and slowly eliminate multiplicity until we're at one - hinting at the most perfect state of existence, the Creator's Oneness. Here, all potential for everything exists at it's most ideal. In contrast, Hillel was interested only in the potential that can be practically actualized. So he touched the potential on the first day, by lighting one candle, and then added a candle each day to symbolize that whatever spiritual potential he caught is now being extended into further and further ...