Rosh Chodesh Tevet: Uplifting the Feminine

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Tevet 5784
Nightfall Tuesday, December 12 – nightfall Wednesday, January 10, 2023

  • Pronunciation: TEH-vet
  • Wellness Area: Channeling anger
  • Astrological Sign: Gedi (Capricorn)
  • Hebrew Letter: ע Ayin
  • Holidays:
  • Hanukkah, the festival of light (evening of Thursday, December 7 – Friday, December 15, 2023)
  • Chag HaBanot, the festival of the daughters (evening of Wednesday, December 13, 2023)
(בבא א' מן הרביעית) המליך אות ע' ברוגז וקשר לו כתר וצרפן זה בזה וצר בהם גדי בעולם וטבת בשנה וכבד בנפש זכר ונקבה: (בבא א' מן הרביעית) המליך אות צ' בלעיטה וקשר לו כתר וצרפן זה בזה וצר בהם דלי בעולם ושבט בשנה וקורקבן בנפש זכר ונקבה: (בבא א' מן הרביעית) המליך אות ק' בשחוק וקשר לו כתר וצרפן זה בזה וצר בהם דגים בעולם ואדר בשנה וטחול בנפש זכר ונקבה. עשאן כמין עריבה סידרן כמין חומה ערכן כמין מלחמה:

He made the letter Eyin (ע) king over anger/ And He bound a crown to it/ And He combined one with another/ And with them He formed/ Capricorn in the Universe/ Tevet in the Year/ And the liver in the Soul/ male and female./

וַתִּלָּקַ֨ח אֶסְתֵּ֜ר אֶל־הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ֙ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית מַלְכוּת֔וֹ בַּחֹ֥דֶשׁ הָעֲשִׂירִ֖י הוּא־חֹ֣דֶשׁ טֵבֵ֑ת בִּשְׁנַת־שֶׁ֖בַע לְמַלְכוּתֽוֹ׃
So Ester was taken to king Aĥashverosh into his royal house in the tenth month, which is the month Tevet, in the seventh year of his reign.
בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָעֲשִׂירִי. עֵת צִנָּה שֶׁהַגּוּף נֶהֱנֶה מִן הַגּוּף. זִמֵּן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אוֹתוֹ עֵת צִנָּה כְּדֵי לְחַבְּבָהּ עָלָיו:

In the tenth month. The cold season, when one body enjoys [the warmth of] another body. The Holy One Blessed Is He, designated that cold season in order to endear her to him.

ת"ר לפי שראה אדם הראשון יום שמתמעט והולך אמר אוי לי שמא בשביל שסרחתי עולם חשוך בעדי וחוזר לתוהו ובוהו וזו היא מיתה שנקנסה עלי מן השמים עמד וישב ח' ימים בתענית [ובתפלה]
With regard to the dates of these festivals, the Sages taught: When Adam the first man saw that the day was progressively diminishing, as the days become shorter from the autumnal equinox until the winter solstice, he did not yet know that this is a normal phenomenon, and therefore he said: Woe is me; perhaps because I sinned the world is becoming dark around me and will ultimately return to the primordial state of chaos and disorder. And this is the death that was sentenced upon me from Heaven, as it is written: “And to dust shall you return” (Genesis 3:19). He arose and spent eight days in fasting and in prayer.
כיון שראה תקופת טבת וראה יום שמאריך והולך אמר מנהגו של עולם הוא הלך ועשה שמונה ימים טובים לשנה האחרת עשאן לאלו ולאלו ימים טובים הוא קבעם לשם שמים והם קבעום לשם עבודת כוכבים

Once he saw that the season of Tevet, i.e., the winter solstice, had arrived, and saw that the day was progressively lengthening after the solstice, he said: Clearly, the days become shorter and then longer, and this is the order of the world. He went and observed a festival for eight days. Upon the next year, he observed both these eight days on which he had fasted on the previous year, and these eight days of his celebration, as days of festivities. He, Adam, established these festivals for the sake of Heaven, but they, the gentiles of later generations, established them for the sake of idol worship.

״צוֹם הָעֲשִׂירִי״ — זֶה עֲשָׂרָה בְּטֵבֵת, שֶׁבּוֹ סָמַךְ מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל עַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וַיְהִי דְבַר ה׳ אֵלַי בַּשָּׁנָה הַתְּשִׁיעִית בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָעֲשִׂירִי בֶּעָשׂוֹר לַחֹדֶשׁ לֵאמֹר. בֶּן אָדָם כְּתׇב לְךָ אֶת שֵׁם הַיּוֹם אֶת עֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה סָמַךְ מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל אֶל יְרוּשָׁלִַים״. וְאַמַּאי קָרֵי לֵיהּ ״עֲשִׂירִי״ — עֲשִׂירִי לֶחֳדָשִׁים. וַהֲלֹא הָיָה רָאוּי זֶה לִכְתּוֹב רִאשׁוֹן? וְלָמָּה נִכְתַּב כָּאן — כְּדֵי לְהַסְדִּיר חֳדָשִׁים כְּתִיקְנָן.
“The fast of the tenth,” This is the tenth of Tevet, on which the king of Babylonia laid siege to Jerusalem, as it is stated: “And in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Son of man, write the name of the day, of this same day: The king of Babylonia has laid siege to Jerusalem on this very day” (Ezekiel 24:1–2). And why did he call it the fast of the tenth? Because it is in Tevet, which is the tenth of the months. Wouldn’t it have been fitting to write this fast first, as the series of events began with the laying of the siege. Why was it written here at the end of the list? This was done in order to list the months in their proper order, as the prophet began with the fourth month and ended with the tenth month. This is the statement of Rabbi Akiva.
וְאֵלּוּ הֵן יוֹם שְׁלִישִׁי בְּתִשְׁרֵי שֶׁבּוֹ נֶהֱרַג גְּדַלְיָה בֵּן אֲחִיקָם וְנִכְבַּת גַּחֶלֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל הַנִּשְׁאָרָה וְסִבֵּב לְהָתָם גָּלוּתָן. וַעֲשִׂירִי בְּטֵבֵת שֶׁבּוֹ סָמַךְ מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר הָרָשָׁע עַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם וֶהֱבִיאָהּ בְּמָצוֹר וּבְמָצוֹק. וְי"ז בְּתַמּוּז חֲמִשָּׁה דְּבָרִים אֵרְעוּ בּוֹ. נִשְׁתַּבְּרוּ הַלּוּחוֹת. וּבָטֵל הַתָּמִיד מִבַּיִת רִאשׁוֹן. וְהֻבְקְעָה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם בְּחֻרְבָּן שֵׁנִי. וְשָׂרַף אַפּוֹסְטוֹמוֹס הָרָשָׁע אֶת הַתּוֹרָה. וְהֶעֱמִיד צֶלֶם בַּהֵיכָל:
These days are the following:
The Third of Tishrei. This is the day on which Gedaliah ben Achikam was slain and the ember of Israel that remained was extinguished, causing their exile to become complete.
The Tenth of Tevet. This is the day Nebuchadnezzar, the wicked, the King of Babylon, camped against Jerusalem and placed the city under siege.
The Seventeenth of Tammuz. Five tragedies took place on this day:
a) The Tablets were broken;
b) In the First Temple, the offering of the daily sacrifices was nullified;
c) [The walls of] Jerusalem were breached in [the war leading to] the destruction of the Second Temple;
d) Apostmos, the wicked, burned a Torah scroll; and
e) He erected an idol in the Temple.
להתענות ד' תעניתים ובו ב סעיפים:
חייבים להתענו' בתשעה באב ובשבעה עשר בתמוז ובג' בתשרי ובעשרה בטבת מפני דברים הרעים שאירעו בהם:
(1) We are obligated to fast on the ninth of Av (Tisha b'Av) and the seventeen of Tammuz (Shiva-Asar b'Tammuz), as well as on the third of Tisrei (Tzom Gedalia) and the tenth of Tevet (Asarah b'Tevet) (2) on account of the terrible things that occurred on these (3) days.

Journal Prompts for Tevet

Set a timer for 3 minutes for each question. We encourage you to write by hand, as you are able. Keep writing the whole time, to stay open to the flow of new realizations.

  • Who is an inspiring woman in your life, and what qualities do you cherish in her?

  • What wisdom of the body do you wish to tap into this month?

  • When was the last time you felt anger, and where did you experience it in your body?