The Hebrew Letter "Vav,"

bound to the Month of Iyar,
second month of the Jewish year, mid-spring.

Embedded in blossoms, this is a month of healing.

Stripped down,
surrounded by mountains, held by clouds,
our people, released slaves, rested.

Learning more
of the One Who heard, battled for their freedom,
and now,
tended their wounds.

So we enter 
the sense of this moon,
harhur, reflection.
Taking the time
and space needed

to put together
where it is we've been,
and where it is we are now.

*In Iyar we count Omer,
time in mystical tradition of spiritual cleansing, where each day one meditates on a blend of sefirot, in preparation, to spiritually stand in Sivan at Sinai, ready to once again receive Torah.

Having left
all we owned in Egypt,
with only that which we could carry on our backs,
we enter

Mamon, the house of property.

Desert-walking reduces life to what truly counts.
Strips us down,
to the elemental.

Material delights dazzle.
Longings, cravings grow like the morning-glory, yards each night,
with roots snarly and deep.

In early spring the natural world lying in radiance,
calls us outside. 
To take pleasure in the 
very basics.
the earth beneath our feet.

She calls us
to return to
bare simplicity.

If we, like our ancestors, had to leave it all,
what would we truly need?

What do we own
and what owns us?

What can we carry
from this world
to the next?

What allows us
to truly 
be free?

So rises the
part of the body linked with this moon,
cil'yah yaminit, our right kidney,
cleansing organ,
which filters impurities and wastes,
from our blood.*

In Chinese medicine her strength
determines our ability to survive.*
When cleansed,
her spirit, "hun," gives rise to Intuition.
Aiding us steer wisely through life.

She graces us will-power,
and driving energy;*
enabling us to press forward through adversity,*
overcome obstacles,
to reach our goals.

Our right side,
linked with chesed, loving-kindness,

she teaches us the way to proceed.

*Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine and Nursing
*Chinese Medicine: In the House of the Moon; Between Heaven and Earth;
Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity
*A Dictionary of Symbols

There to champion us, rises  
Shor, the bull, sky-sign of this moon.

His vigor, vast capacity for hard work,
buttresses our own.

In Solomon's Temple twelve bulls held*a sea of bronze.
Facing all directions, they invited the one who approached
to purify from wherever they had come.

Linked with realm of night,
horns mirroring the moon,*
myths connect the bull with the power of Creation.

Animal of sacrifice,*
he lends us strength to cleanse from our road traveled,
to harness our power,
and re-Create,
ourselves, yet again.

* I Kings 7:23-5:"And he made a molten sea..(which) stood upon 12 bulls."
*See A Dictionary of Symbols
*Shor as sacrificial animal as in Leviticus 9:4 

The Vav, Hebrew letter of this month,  
also bears guidance.

Firstly in her shape.

Slender, gracefully curved,
she touches heaven,
feet firmly placed on earth,*
drawing down

A graceful dancer,
a pillar beautifully spanning space,

back straight, head erect, she lifts upwards,

Planted within our core,
she stands, our inner column, *
a staff of comfort,
a support tucked through us,

speaking truth,
our guide, our load-stone.

*Our guide: Vav as "pillar of truth": Zohar 1:241b

Her name and two grammatical functions
additionally teach.

"Vav" means "hook,"
"Vavim" linked the curtains with the columns of the Mishcan, Tent of Meeting. *
Appearing on the tops of the columns of Torah,
she connects us

with the Sacred.

In "Vav HaChibur,"*
she serves as link.

As "Vav HaHipuch,"
she transforms,

turning verbs of past tense to future,
and future to past.

So she carries us
the subterranean river
flowing beneath and through all time,

reminding us
that we are continually linked

with All. *

*Exodus 27:10: Vavim are "hooks" (plural) Mishcan, the Tent of Meeting.
*In Torah scribal art many columns of Torah begin with the letter "Vav"
*In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
Bereishit Bara Elohim Et HaShamayim V'Et HaAretz
Genesis 1:1
With a "Vav" God linked heaven and earth.

*HaChibur: meaning 'and', her root: Chet,Vet, Reish: means to bind together, unit, join
*HaHipuch: root: Hey, Feh, Chaf: turn, invert, reverse

When walking in the footsteps of our ancestors, the Israelites,
newly freed slaves, stripped down to our cores,
we become like sea creatures
who shed their too-small shells and then tuck into the coral,
pink-skinned and vulnerable, until new shells, the right size, grow once more.

In our vulnerability, the vav's
numerical value, order in the aleph-bet,

, comes to our side.

In six
directions we shake lulav,*
six are the points of the magen david,*

six clouds of glory accompanied us through the desert,
symbols of protection
from all sides.

Six are the
days of Creation,*
six days we labor, bringing changes to this world,
six letters in the first word of Torah, BeReishit,
"in the beginning,"*
all images of our inner capacity and power.

Six are the
orders of Mishnah, code of law,
there to aid us find our way, through chaos
to a firm life-giving path.

that when we're in wilderness, and weary, 

Spirit surrounds us, is there, in all directions.

Reminds us
that we have the strength required to attend to the work at hand,
to create, re-create
ourselves, our lives to better fit us as we strive to become that whom we can be.

And that routes are there, awaiting us,
to lead us 
to life.

We are not alone.

* Lulav: 4 species from the Land of Israel: Etrog, willow, myrtle, palm.
That we shake east, south, west, north, up, and down. During the holy day of Sukkot in the Fall.
*Magen David: Shield of David.
*Six days: Genesis 1:1f
*Bara Sheit: Created Six: Tikunnei Zohar: Tikkun 11

So comes
 Issachar, tribe of this moon.
Strong as a donkey, vigorous in labor, *
he worked the land, resting between the sheepfolds,
devoted guardian.
He stands now, by our sides.

He, the reward,
Leah's fifth son,
product of her night with Jacob,
bartered for unearthed Mandrake roots.

Wise one, Issachar, was graced with understanding,
able to discern the dictates of the Holy One, 
shown on his black banner embroidered with images of sun and moon.*

He warned his people of dangers to come.
An accomplished maker of glass,
he helped his people see. *

Standing with his brother Judah in the North-East round the Mishcan,*
he stood towards the rising sun, "From whence light comes into this world."
Able to uncover messages in Torah,
he sheds around us additional light.

* Genesis 30:14: Leah barters the 'find' of Mandrake roots, which Rachel coveted. For a night with Jacob.
(Sin, Chaf, Resh, root of Issachar's name: v.18 'reward')
* Issachar's blessing: Genesis 49:14: " Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between the sheep holds...
bowing shoulder to the burden..."
*Midrash Rabbah Numbers 2:7: ..."his flag was black...embroidered..."
*I Chronicles 12:33 "And the children of Issachar, men that had understanding of the times.  To know what Israel had to do."
*Maker of glass:
Deuteronomy 33:18-19 "....riches...from the hidden hoards of the sand.." ;
Kabbalistic Astrology Rabbi Dobin pg. 37
*Midrash Rabbah Numbers 2:10: Connects Issachar both as Guardian of Torah, as well as having the gift  of Understanding.
Through Astronomy. As Calendar Experts.
Also his position round the Mishcan, Tent of Meeting.
*Proverbs 6:23: "Ki Ner Mitzvah, V'Torah Or" "For Command is a lamp and Teaching, Light."

Lastly, rises the angel of this moon, Lahatiel.

"I am here, with you, 
my flame will light your way. 
My glow will illumine your night,
will keep your resting place safe,

the wild creatures, at a distance.

You shall have light for your fires,
warmth for your body,
vigor for your soul.
That you might step forward surely.

my blaze.

* Sefer Yetzirah translated by Aryeh Kaplan
*Drashed Lahatiel: Lamed, Hey, Tet: Lahat: to glow, burn, blaze up, flame, kindle


Each of us carries the vulnerability of the enslaved,
though we may walk this earth
as free people.

Each of us carries inner strength,
to shape our destiny.

Now is the time
to stand in the elements,
work, cleanse,

heal, deal,
our directional.

The power of the Bull,
the light of flaming angel,
the strength and perseverance of the donkey,
the deep knowing of Issachar
comes to us as we immerse in this river of time.

Feel the interconnection,
as the world now flows into Light,
joining together
in grand symphony,
wooing us

more completely

into the dance

of Life.

*Sages linked "Iyar" by sound to the word, "Or" or light.

Words with Vav-Musings

Vadi: Wadi                                Vav: Hook                              Vered: Rose
Vatik: Veteran, old timer         Viddui: Confession of sin

As we walk the desert, we've time to survey our life. 
Thoughts, memories, longings, regrets rise in the desert heat. 
We know our passage forward depends on clearing our souls of debris that blocks our way.

So we sit in our desert robes ,
say our Viddui, releasing all,
and quiet to be and listen.

With the eyes of the elder, veteran of life's passages, we turn,
hold close a single rose, and breath deeply her scent, fragrance of healing,

We sit in the wadi,
place of cool waters,
place of restoration.

The sun, soaring mountains,
green growth, sound of water, and wide, wide sky,
the vav links us to these,
that they might enter us,
lift us, fill us, inspire us,
heal us.