A Rosh Chodesh Tammuz letter from our Mashpia, Rav Burg
Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Dear Nitzotzos Community, A gutten Rosh Chodesh Tammuz!
Ahhh, what might have been.
What could have been.
What should have been.
So close and yet so far.
Tammuz is the fourth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan. When we count the year from Nissan we are counting from the time we were born as a nation. 210 years of slavery in Egypt ended in Nissan. Fifty days later we received the Torah. Moshe Rabbeinu than ascended to Heaven in order to receive the remainder of the Torah. He was due to return on the 16th of Tammuz. Had we held on a little longer, had we kept the eirev rav at bay for just another couple of hours (six to be precise), the 17th of Tammuz would have been the greatest Yom Tov of all time. At the time of the giving of the Torah we had defeated the concept of death. The sin of Adam HaRishon had almost been rectified. Once Moshe Rabbeinu brought down the luchos we would have completed the rectification and the 17th of Tammuz would have been the day in which we ushered in the era of Olam Haba. That would be quite a Yom Tov. Instead we built a Golden Calf and the rest is history. Far from becoming a Yom Tov, the 17th of Tammuz is the beginning of the destruction of Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash.
But nestled inside of every tragedy is the cure. The Sefer Yetzirah teaches that Tammuz is associated with the sense of sight and the letter chet. Chassidus explains that whenever you want to understand the inner meaning of something you must find the first place it is mentioned in the Torah. Not surprisingly, the first time we see sight in the Torah and the letter chet in the Torah is in exactly the same place. "And the earth was chaos and void, and darkness (choshech) was upon the face of the deep... G‑d said let there be light, and there was light. G‑d saw the light that it was good…" The letter chet comes first in the passuk and is identified with darkness, choshech begins with the letter chet. Sight immediately follows and is identified with the light. God saw the light and it was good. Chet is also the name for sinning (darkness) whereas light is identified with being connected to God (it was good). The inner message of the passuk is that to be a Jew one must learn to see in the darkness. This is reminiscent of the plague of darkness in Mitzrayim in which the Egyptians were unable to move in the thick darkness but for the Jews we were able to see as usual. It's not that for the Jews it wasn't dark but when we are connected to God we have the capacity to see in the darkness.
How do we move on after we have made tragic mistakes? How can we continue to serve Hashem when our aveiros are weighing upon us? We must learn to see the light in the darkness. Teshuva is more powerful than any Mitzvah. A Mitzvah reveals God in our perfection. Teshuva reveals God in our imperfections. Since God wants to be revealed in the lowest dimensions of our world Teshuva is mission critical. Do we want to sin? Not really. Maybe we have an inappropriate desire that we fall prey to but we don't want to sin. But when we do sin we have an awesome opportunity to find God in the darkness. And that is the purpose of all of creation.
The Kotzker Rebbe as a young child was asked, where is God? His response even at a tender young age was, "wherever you let Him in." May we find the strength this Tammuz to look at one of the greatest mistakes we have ever made and turn it into one of our greatest moments. Let's make this Tammuz the month that we are privileged to greet Mashiach.