Ha’Chazarah – CHESHVAN – The EIGHTH Hebrew Month

cheshvan

How blessed is the one whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring;
The early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
(Psalm 84: 5-7)

This month, devoid of any special holidays of it’s own and historically being a time in history that has brought much suffering to the Jewish people, also marks the start of the cold and rainy season in Israel. These rains of Cheshvan are called the early rains in Scripture, moreh, meaning both early rain and teacher, from the same root, yarah, as Torah.

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Ha’Chazarah – TISHREI – The Seventh Hebrew Month

leaves-504018_1280

In autumn, as leaves are withering, it is hard to believe life will ever grow again. Yet beneath the earth, the cycle of life is beginning. The wrinkled seed, buried after harvest, waits to sprout. On Rosh HaShanah we discover that we too can blossom even after we have withered.

A legend tells that on Rosh HaShanah the Divine made the barren matriarch Sarah fertile, and she conceived from her husband Abraham (Babylonian Talmud, Rosh HaShanah 10b). We read the story of Isaac’s birth on the New Year to celebrate this seedling of life. Sarah, 90 years old, is like the soil of autumn: outwardly dry and barren, yet inwardly fecund.*

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*  Jill Hammer, The Jewish Book of Days, 1 Tishrei

Ha’Chazarah – ELUL – The Sixth Hebrew Month

Elul 1

Though summer still lingered and the day was bright and sunny, there was a change in the air. One smelled already the Elul-scent; a teshuvah-wind was blowing. Everyone grew more serious, more thoughtful…. All awaited the call of the shofar, the first blast that would announce the opening of the gates of the month of mercy.*

The month of Elul is considered a particular time for repentance and reconciliation with G-d. The name of the month is a reminder that this season of repentance (teshuvah) and spiritual reflection is not to be a time of morbid introspection or conducted with heaviness. E,l,u,l (aleph, lamed, vav, lamed) is an acronym for the Hebrew verse, Song of Songs 6:3.

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* Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn

Ha’Chazarah – AV – The Fifth Hebrew Month

Av

Av is a month split in two, the waxing moon one of mourning and sorrow, the waning moon one of comfort and love, two splits each a whole, creating a tension.

This paradoxical month is a perfect time to step out of our neat and ordered Greek perspective with it’s nicely tied down answers and to romance the paradoxical tensions of Hebraic thought. Unlike a dichotomy where one is split into two, a paradox allows two to become one yet remain two – for example Yeshua both the ‘Lamb of G-d’ and the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’.

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Ha’Chazarah – TAMMUZ – The Fourth Hebrew Month

Tammuz

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May it be G-d’s will that His Presence lives in the work of your hands.**

Tammuz brings together loss (and all loss contains – grief, anger, pain… brokenness) and the potential for chesed, with chesed’s potential for healing and rejoicing.

The book of Ezekiel, which begins in the month of Tammuz, is especially noted for showing G-d’s saving purposes in the history of the world and His future work in history.

This month is a perfect time to ask the question, “How does G-d’s chesed play a saving purpose in the world and how can I partner with Him in His healing work?”

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* David Baruch Wolk, Kindness And Mercy Are Before HaShem’s Glory
** Sifre to Bamidbar, 143

Ha’Chazarah – SIVAN – The Third Hebrew Month

Sandy Freckleton Gagan - Whither Thou Goest

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George MacDonald tells a story of a woman who had experienced a great tragedy in her life. “The heartache was so crushing and her sorrow so bitter that the one in distress exclaimed, ‘I wish I’d never been made.’ With spiritual discernment, her friend answered, ‘My dear, you are not fully made yet; you’re only being made, and this is the Maker’s process!'”

Though Naomi (pleasant) said, “Call me Mara (bitter)…” the Scriptures, inspired by the Spirit of G-d, continued to call her Naomi, “So Naomi (not Mara) returned.”

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for well-being and not for calamity to give you a future aand a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

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* Sandy Freckleton Gagan, Whither Though Goest

Ha’Chazarah – IYAR – The Second Hebrew Month

Iyar

IYAR…is a month that  brings together the power of physical liberation experienced at the Exodus from Passover in the month of NISSAN and prepares for the spiritual liberation at the foot of Mount Sinai during the month of Sivan. It connects the two eternally…it became the vessel that was appointed from the beginning of time to bridge physical and the spiritual redemptions.*

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* Moshe Kempinski, Iyar – A Powerful Month

Ha’Chazarah – NISSAN – The First Hebrew Month

Passover-2-8For he has looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven Y/H/V/H surveys the earth to listen to the sighing of the prisoner, to set free those who are sentenced to death, to proclaim the name of Y/H/V/H in Tziyon and his praise in Yerushalayim when peoples and kingdoms have been gathered together to serve Y/H/V/H.
Psalm 102:19-22

In this month of Nissan, those of us who have ‘ears to hear, hear’ and are invited to participate in the Divine symphony of Redemption. It is an indescribably profound symphony with diverse moods, variant textures, and intersecting melodies, repeatedly punctuated with hallel (praise).

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Canvas – Lichtenstein; Blue and White Gallery, Jerusalem

Ha’Chazarah – ADAR – The Twelfth Hebrew Month

Adar

The Bible describes the making of the world not only as the building of a house, but also as the weaving of a garment. G-d turned a chaos into a cosmos, and also turned a tangle into a tapestry. Woven garments were long in the making and valuable in ancient times, and therefore they were an apt metaphor for the wonder and character of the material world. The sea (Psalm 104:6), the clouds (Job 38:9), the lights in the sky (Psalm 104:1), and all the forces of nature (Psalm 102:26) are called garments that G-d has woven and now wears.

…If you throw thousands of pieces of thread onto a table, no fabric results. The threads must be rightly and intimately related to one another in literally a million ways. Each thread must go over, under, around, and through the others at thousands of points. Only then do you get a fabric that is beautiful and strong, that covers, fits, holds, shelters, and delights.*

This month we look at the threads of Adar, and discover it’s interplay with the other threads in this majestic tapestry of time woven by the Divine Hand.

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* Timothy Keller, Generous Justice: How G-d’s Grace Makes Us Just

Ha’Chazarah – SHEVAT – The Eleventh Hebrew Month

tree-17708_640

Sap Rises

Singing Psalms in Jerusalem
Swaying blue-striped tents of white
dot this sanctuary of time.
Tefillin, carrying the Word, light the way.
Tzitizit dance gently, accompanying
the prayers chanted this New Moon eve;
a psalm of love to our Creator.
Open hands uplifted to Heaven,
herald Shevat, and remind us:
We need not suffer thirst.
Living Water from Heaven’s stream
always flows, quenches, restores.
Like sweet sap rises
and fans a tiny flame into a burning fire.*

Shevat comes in the deep of winter. It is the time that the sap in the trees begins to rise, running through the veins of the trees, feeding it for the year to come. The dormant tree is waking from its winter’s sleep.

This is a time that reminds us that although the tree looks dead–no greenery, no fruit–inwardly there is much life.

The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which He has planted… (Psalm 104:16)

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**Inspired by Velveteen Rabbi, Rosh Chodesh Shevat ~ adapted by Keren & Cindy

Ha’Chazarah – TEVET – The Tenth Hebrew Month

Hope 2As we move into the month of Tevet and bid farewell to the lights of Hanukkah, we are reminded that with the waxing moon of Tevet also comes the turning point to longer days.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, with all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:11-14)

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Ha’Chazarah – KISLEV – The Ninth Hebrew Month

Kislev

A WARM WELCOME to HA’CHAZARAH
~ the specifically feminine study of the Hebrew months.

Brave men, not deterred at the thought of exploring the feminine side
of their natures,
are more than welcome too!

The month of Kislev falls during the final days of Autumn. The surroundings are vibrant with the reds and golds of the season, but the days are shorter and the hours of darkness lengthen. The cold of Winter is beginning to set in.

The festival of Hanukkah  – Feast of Dedication – is celebrated at this time of the year, always on 25th Kislev, and it’s flickering lights invite us into this sacred space of warmth and holiness.

May you be blessed with strength and inspiration month by month,

                                Keren & Cindy

Download here:  Ha’Chazarah – KISLEV

Ha’Chazarah – החזרה – A Rosh Chodesh Study for Women – Introduction

******** Starting this week with the Hebrew month of KISLEV *******

Although, technically, Kislev is not the first month of the Hebrew Annual Cycle, it is an auspicious month that marks the hidden potential – life in the womb, as it were – that is being nurtured through the dark Winter months. As such it carries the promise and hope of new beginnings.

Baruch Nachshon

I have come into My garden, My sister, My bride!
Song of Songs 5:1

Ha’Chazarah – a noun meaning the reflection, with an implication of light. It also is related to the verb lach’zor, which captures the meanings of to return, to restore, to reflect. The natural monthly cycle, marked by Rosh Chodesh, embraces all these various meanings.

The monthly cycle of the moon is supernaturally linked with a woman’s cycle. As women, we have a unique contribution to make in God’s ultimate purpose of Creation. We have a vital role to play in reversing the curse that occurred at the expulsion from Gan Eden and in bringing a redemptive restoration of the beauty of the Garden of God and the Delight of His Presence. It is worthy of note that Yeshua was raised to new resurrection life in a garden and the first to see him was a woman, his beloved disciple Miryam mi’Migdal, Mary Magdalene.

As the Word made flesh, Yeshua proclaimed himself to be the Light of the world. The Word came down from Heaven to be the Light in the darkness. We can aim to be Ha’Chazarah (shel Ohr), the Reflection (of that Light), that shines in the world and that raises up praise and glory to the Source from which it came.

With each Rosh Chodesh study we aim to note the characteristics of the month and to explore feminine spirituality in the Word of God and the Light of Yeshua. We trust this will bring deeper understanding of our role in this crucial era of God’s Redemption.

We are so excited to have you join us on this monthly journey!

Blessings of strength and inspiration,
Keren and Cindy

* Artwork: Baruch Nachshon