The word “shevat” is related to the Hebrew word for a staff or rod. A staff can be used as a symbol of power, or as a cane to lean on. It serves a master. This is an underlying theme of the month. The constellation associated with this month is the Waterbucket. This symbol also represents an object that serves someone. It draws water.
In secular astrology the symbol is not the bucket but the carrier. This is one of two signs out of the twelve signs of the zodiac that differ slightly from secular astrology signs. This sign, known as Aquarius, is the sign of the Jewish people. Just like a person is designated by a sign of the zodiac, similarly a people also have a sign designated to them.
The element wind is associated with Shevat. Out of the four elements, wind, earth, water, and fire, wind is the least tangible. It often acts as a conduit for other things. It transports moisture, it brings seedlings and other particles of nature from one location to another. Earth, fire and water are more important for what they are than what they do.
The tribe of Asher is kabbalistically associated with Shevat. “Asher” in Hebrew grammar connects the subject of a sentence to a verb. It supports the subject. This is another example of Shevat’s relationship to being subordinate to a master. All of these points suggest that the month of Shevat is prone to be a conduit for us. A stepping-stone to the next step in our lives. Similarly, many things in a person’s life can be looked at from two viewpoints. One view looks at the act itself.
The other view is how the act is a means to an end. For example, I may enjoy playing tennis once a week for the pure enjoyment of the game, the exercise, or the company of my playing partner. However, I can also use my weekly tennis game as a means to keep me physically healthy, which gives my whole life more enjoyment, which allows me to serve God with my life with generally more joy. That second viewpoint is not a contradiction to the first view. Its an added, more elevated outlook that makes my tennis playing a more powerful spiritual experience.
The letter kabbalistically associated with Shevat is the Tzadi, otherwise known as the Tzaddik. That word in Hebrew also means “righteous one”. One of the qualities of the “tzaddik” is that he uses all of his activities for a higher purpose. When he eats its not just to enjoy the food, he eats to live so he can serve his creator. The Talmud says, “A righteous man eats to satisfy his soul.” Eating is our most common activity that can be seen from these two viewpoints. It’s a daily opportunity for spiritual growth. Coincidentally, the human attribute kabbalistically associated with Shevat is “eating”. This daily experience is connected with the first commandment that the Creator gave to the first couple. God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Therefore we have a daily occasion to correct a part of our soul that is so deep and intrinsic to humanity it reaches back into the Garden of Eden.
Shevat is a month to focus on this idea of using your normal daily behavior as a medium for spirituality. This month think through your work, play, exercise, eating, reading, etc. and focus on the spiritual side of them.
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