The most cosmic event in Sivan is the holiday of Shavuot, which is the occasion of our receiving the Torah. The fact that this event happened during Sivan reveals the secret that Sivan is ripe for wisdom and insight. In order to receive some of this understanding we need to make ourselves sensitive to and worthy of receiving it. We need to ask for wisdom. And most importantly, we have to struggle in its study.
Gemini (the twins) is the constellation of Sivan. Interestingly, traditional sun sign astrology suggests Gemini as having a strong intellectual bent. This is based somewhat on the fact that Mercury is its ruling planet. The symbol of the twins as it relates to the holiday of Shavuot has a number of interpretations:
1. It symbolizes the Jewish people coming together with God.
2. It can also represent the two stone tablets.
3. The Zohar is quoted as linking the symbol of the twins to Jacob and Esau. The influence of Jacob is felt in some of the twelve months of the calendar. Esau’s influence is felt the other months. Sivan, however, was unassigned to either brother. Whoever aligned himself with the Torah would be given the influence of the month. The twins are the symbol that Jacob and Esau can both have influence over this month. Anyone who wants can make that relationship with God. The Torah is not for a restricted club.
4. There is also the idea that all Jews should feel as close to each other as twins. Our power and our holiness is dependent on our unity.
This double nature seems to find expression in many areas of creation: male/female, physicality/spirituality, good/evil – so much so that some people have even developed philosophies based on this (Yin and Yang, for example).
In Judaism we find the Ten Commandments have two sections – five that connect us to God, and five that define our relationship to our fellow man. Within ourselves we have two natures – a good inclination and a bad inclination. We have to spend our whole lives gaining sensitivity to these two internal desires.
According to Kabalah, each of the twelve months has a human attribute assigned to it. Sivan’s human omponent is “walking.” Many times in the Torah we are asked to “walk” in the ways of God. The use of the word “walk” has profound implications. Even though the Torah has 613 principles to live by, much of our day is spent involved with activities that aren’t tied to a specific injunction. What is the proper way to greet someone? How do you cheer someone up?
We have to learn to “walk” like God and then we’ll understand how to do everything. Walking in the way of
God means acting and thinking in an elevated way.
There is another fascinating use of the word “to walk.” The word in Hebrew for Jewish law is “halacha” which is the same root word for “walking.” All of Jewish law is based on principles to live by rather than fixed rules and regulations. It’s so important when approaching Jewish law not to get so caught up in the details that we lose sight of the bigger picture.
The letter associated with the month of Sivan is called “zayin.” It is the seventh letter of the alphabet. The sages tell us that number seven is always an indication
of something precious. For example, Shabbat is the seventh day of the week. Shabbat is a precious day for us to connect to the Almighty. It is an elevated day.
Moses was an elevated person, and that’s why he was chosen to transmit the Torah to the world. He happened to be the seventh generation from Abraham. There are seven “shepherds” who teach us about leadership:
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and King David. There are seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot. All of these ideas are incorporated in the designation of “zayin” as Sivan’s letter.
In closing, this time period is ripe for wisdom, insight, and understanding. And we can access all of this right from the source. All of our focus this month should be seeking wisdom from God through our teachers, the Torah, and sometimes even from within ourselves.