Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reflections on י-ה-ה-ו

Judaism's monthly cycle begins in the Spring with the month of Nissan. The second month of the cycle is called Iyar. The Divine Name for Iyar is י-ה-ה-ו. It’s almost like the name for Nissan which is י-ה-ו-ה. The only difference is the inversion of the last two letters. The ו-ה becomes ה-ו.  

 י-ה-ו-ה is an acronym for the verse, “May the heavens celebrate and the earth rejoice!” (Psalms 96:11).   י-ה-ה-ו is an acronym for the verse, “May the praiser be praised, enlighten and know” (Jeremiah 9:23).  י-ה-ו-ה’s acronym addresses the universal ~ the heavens and earth. י-ה-ה-ו’s acronym addresses the personal ~ a praiser whose praised, and someone becomes enlightened and knowledgeable ~ maybe the praiser or maybe the one who considers the lesson behind may the praiser be praised. Regardless, here the subject is a person, not the universe (heavens and earth).

Each month has as its Divine Name a unique permutation (or letter scramble) of י-ה-ו-ה. All the Divine energy found in all the permutations of י-ה-ו-ה get their initial burst of energy from  י-ה-ו-ה, during the month of Nissan. Then the next eleven months are revelations of various aspects of this Name. It's like the month of Nissan is the wetting of a towel and the next eleven months are about wringing out the towel in eleven different contortions. So in Nissan it will simply drip freely, without effort. Then in the following months, various contortions will wring out the more deeply embedded liquid from various regions of the towel.

In the month of Iyar, it seems like the universal blessings of Nissan, י-ה-ו-ה, become personal. They reach down from their universal perch into the domain of the personal. In fact, the two months are so closely tied that there is even a second Passover in Iyar - when in Temple times, those who needed to, could bring a fully legitimate Passover offering. Unlike Nissan, since Iyar is more personal, it comes along with an element of education and work ~ a big theme in the Omer count.


In י-ה-ו-ה the maturing male letter is the ו, while the maturing female letter is the second ה. Depending on how they are viewed, they are either brother and sister to each other or husband and wife to each other ~ in the mystery of the appellation given to the woman in The Song of Songs, “My sister, my bride”.

The other two letters, י-ה, are the parent letters which birth and nurture the ו-ה ~ the sibling couple. The י is the father letter and the first ה is the mother letter.

In Nissan’s Name, י-ה-ו-ה, the masculine receives more nurturing than the feminine, as the ו is closer to the parent letters י-ה. In Iyar’s Name, י-ה-ה-ו, the feminine receives more nurturing than the masculine, as the second ה is closer to the parent letters י-ה.

The ו has more to do with the universal. Among other indications why, it represents expansion into the cardinal six directions of the universe. So it makes sense that Nissan has more to do with the universal.

In contrast, the letter ה, being feminine, has more to do with the personal ~ as in personal growth. So it makes sense that Iyar is more personally oriented.


The Divine Name for Iyar is י-ה-ה-ו. I have noticed that the two feminine ה letters are surrounded by the two masculine letters י and ו. It bears the appearance of the masculine cradling the feminine. It’s a precious feminine centerpoint surrounded by an expansive masculine context. It’s like the feminine afterglow-filled void lodged in the midst of the Infinite Light. In a sense, this is actually the proper placement of masculine and feminine. As a pearl lodged within flesh of an oyster, the feminine is supposed to be a precious centerpoint within a masculine context ~ as in Psalm 45, “All the honor of the princess is within.”

I wonder what’s unique about Iyar which allows for this particular placement of letters י-ה-ה-ו. This month is intentionally sandwiched between two major Jewish Holidays ~ Passover and Shavuot. It’s actually intended as a bridge between them. In a general sense, the י can be seen as the energy of Passover. It’s raw and seminal! Plus, the Lurianic meditations teach that the maturing male ו grows to the level of father י on the first night/day of Passover. However, as the light of growth is raw and seminal, it lacks stability and doesn’t stay. As receiving vessels are absent, it can’t process.

The processing happens over the next 49 days, during the Omer count. One of the main themes of femininity is processing ~ the womb which develops a fetus. Then the light returns on the 50th day to stay, on Shavuot, even stronger and more solidly than it initially appeared. So the  two feminine ה letters symbolize wombs which process. Perhaps, each ה letter is for a different part of the Omer count.

Since the whole month of Iyar is dedicated to this womb/processing period, it’s symbolized by the two ה’s in the middle, bridging the active masculine revelations of both Holidays. It’s zodiac sign is the ox, pulling the plow to work over mother earth for seeding, gestation and growth. It’s a womb month, a month when so much happens to prepare for birth.


No comments:

Post a Comment