MARCHESHVAN

The potential for separation and the potential for return are inherent in God’s creation. When He created the universes, God formed the illusion of a separation between Himself and that which He created. The intent was that the creation would return by drawing themselves closer to God, and also by them bringing God into creation.

The Torah outlines many ways to draw closer to God, e.g. prayer and meditation, study of the Torah, etc. It also outlines many ways to bring God into the world, e.g. love your fellow man, honesty in business, etc. When man does good acts, the presence of God (known as the (“shechinah”) rests among us. (Some mystics have a special prayer they say just for the return of the Shechinah.) We can bring down an influence of Godliness into the world. There is a short kabbalistic statement in the prayer book that can be said before any good act or mitzvah. It loosely translates as “I am about to do this act in order to unify God’s presence with His creation.” (See Artscroll page 59)

King David’s kingdom was divided in the month of MarCheshvan. This is an extreme example of the potential for separation during this month. Another expression of this is the generation of the flood at the time of Noah. Mankind created such a separation between themselves and God, that His presence departed from them causing the flood with its incredible destruction. The sages say that their judgment began in this month. That judgment continued even after the flood up until the building of the Temple in Jerusalem many years later, which brought God’s presence back into the world. The power of separation and return, however, go together. A symbol of the potential for return is the fact that Noah was able to exit the ark during the month of MarCheshvan. It’s interesting to note that in the yearly cycle of reading the Torah, the portion of Noah and the flood falls out in this month. (See Genesis 6:9)

The scorpion is the astrological sign for this month. Scorpions can be deadly. This month, with its potential for separation can also be spiritually “deadly”. We can return to God, or we can separate even more. It’s very important to seize the opportunity not just to do the acts that bring God into the world, but also to keep as a mental focus at this time that want to draw down God’s presence.

That’s the opportunity of the month.

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