The Hebrew Letter "Tzadi"
bound to the month of Shvat.
Eleventh month of the Jewish year, mid-winter.


Through the bitter cold of this season,
Shvat's very entrance lights the heart with hope.

Those wee almond flowers defiantly unfolding in icy rains,
a pink-white cry of triumph.

The 'eleventh month' woven in her name from the Akkadian,
she marks the turn of the year's wheel.

And calls us
to 'fill up', the task of this moon,

an essential art.


For the living of life can suck us dry.

And so comes Shvat and this teaching,
just as we read in Torah of our people's slavery,
just as we see the plagues descending on the Land of narrowness,

our people crying out, and then, with death all around them,
fleeing, with that which they can carry on their backs,
into the harshness of the desert.

So we stop and inventory our lives.
Feel our depletion.

As we're tucked inside.

Teli, the water-drawer, sky-sign of this moon,
sees our empty places, knows our thirst, and
rises

in response.

Lifting her vessel up to her shoulder, 
she generously pours down the waters of life.

To restore the dry riverbeds
of our souls.

Notes:
Teli, Sefer Yetzirah pg.209
*See A Dictionary of Symbols, A Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects

L'eitah, swallowing, the sense of this moon.

After seeing how low our inner reserves have become,
we need stop and take in.
Receive.

And swallow
our pride.


For there are times in life 
when we can't do it all by ourselves.

When we need relinquish, for a time, our discomfort around 'taking,'
recognize our need,
and learn to humbly say, 'Thank you.'

And do so Graciously. 
With full heart.
Learn the art of accepting.

Just like chicks, 
we now open our mouths wide to feed,
knowing our lives depend upon it.

That there's something powerful,
necessary,
in doing so.

Notes:
*L'eitah, swallowing, Sefer Yetzirah pg. 217

Korkevan, the stomach, part of the body of this moon.

Not only need we receive, swallow that offered,
but we need digest the gift given.

And allow it to deeply nourish us.

Let it enter into the hidden parts of ourselves.
Lie there in the darkness 
and feed us.

 Notes:

* Sefer Yetzirah: pg.218.
* See the Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Nursing; A Dictionary of Symbols
*Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity: Stomach as the 'sea of nutrients'

Ohav, love, house of this moon
reminds us
that our mouths and our hearts
are linked.

She instructs, to allow now too the waters of love to stir.

In our lifetimes we learn,
how to discern and recognize love.

We learn when and to whom to let our love flow.
And to receive it as openly as we do the rains of this season.

For love is the life-blood of our existence.

Notes:
*Sefer Yetzirah pg. 201
* In 496 St, Valentines Day was established to celebrate love.
*Webster Dictionary: pg 498  Love...a feeling of strong personal attachment induced by sympathetic understanding or by ties of kinship; ardent affection... strong liking; fondness, good will; tender and passionate affection for one...a synonym for God...to take delight or pleasure in...

Tzadi, hebrew letter of this moon,
majestically, now steps forward, adorned with a crown of royalty.*

She, the 18th letter of the Hebrew alphabet,* nears,
signifying she bears life. 

The tzadi holds two forms.
One which appears at the start or in the midst of words.
Another form that can be seen only at words end.

'Tzad' means 'side.'

For she walks by our side
through our life-time.

The mark of love,
the sign of a
true friend.

In gematria tzadi holds the numerical value of 90.

Age when our matriarch, Sarah, gave birth to Yizchak, the laughing one.
Midrash teaches Sarah's milk was so abundant
that she gave suck to all the children of the Israelites.

Ninety, ten times nine months of pregnancy,

reminds us that we hold incredible creative power within that can impact many worlds.
If
we tend ourselves.
Regularly. 

Notes:
* One of the seven letters in Torah scribal calligraphy that bears tagin, a crown.
*Eighteen equals chai, life.
*Sefer Yetzirah pg. 218

Asher, tribe of this moon,
second of Zilpah's sons, rises to add to our gifts.

His name, woven from Leah's proclamation as he entered this world, "Happy am I!"
Blessed by his father with wealth and good fortune,
so he was able to stand in the darkness on the North side of the Mishcan.

His standard bore the symbol of the olive tree.
Linked with oil, he was known as a bearer of light.

Olive oil, used in the Menorah in the Temple,
also used for anointing the priests and kings.

The olive branch, carried by the dove after finding dry land, as fthe lood waters receded,
long has stood as symbol,
of peace.

So Shvat teaches when we fill up
with love,
with light,
with peace,
these stand by our side.

Enabling us to stand as did Asher through times of shadows and sun.

For these hold deep, true and essential sustenance
for our
beings.


Notes:

*Genesis 30: 12 Asher's birth
* Genesis 49: 20: Asher's food shall be oil rich...Deuteronomy 33:24-25: May he dip his foot in oil
*Midrash Rabbah Numbers 2:10... on the north....Asher, lighting up the darkness...
*Midrash Rabbah Numbers 2:7: embroidered with an olive tree

Gavriel, angel of this moon,
too now comes to our sides.

For it takes bravery
to love,
seek light,
seek peace,
tend ourselves.

First appearing in the moon of death in the fall,
he now again shows himself.

As the Song of Songs teaches, Love is stronger than death.

Notes:
* Sefer Yetzirah translated by Aryeh  pg.210
*Drashed  Gavar: power, strength
* Song of Songs 8: 6: Set me as a seal upon your heart... for love is stronger than death.

And Tu B'Shvat, holiday of this moon, appears
wherein kabbalists swallowed symbolic foods,*
as the moon became
 full.

Believing taking in, swallowing, digesting,
enabled the mystical Tree of Life to revivify
,
for another
year.

By taking in,
filling up,
we too can touch
the heart
of the Universe,

Aid
in its
Re-Creation.

Small
simple actions,
can swing
the balance

of existence.

Notes:
* Through the Tu B'Shvat Seder

Weavings

Just as wadis open
to receive the winter rains,
it's time for us to do the same.

Love,
light,
peace,
care,
our waters of restoration,

This requires conscious action.

Overwriting all the other messages we have learned.
Filling up 
is not a selfish act,
but a necessary one.

Then refreshed, refilled,
like Asher, we can take up our task again.

To shed light in this world.
To Shine.

Words with Tzadi, musings

Tzon: Flock                                   Tzav: Turtle                           Tzavah: military, army
Tzibor: Community                        Tzvi: Deer, gazelle                 Tzadik: Righteous man
Tzeva: Color                                  Tzahav: Yellow, golden          Tzaharaim: Noon
Tzohar: Window                             Tzur: Rock, refuge                Tzel: Shadow
Tzemach: Plant                               Tzeirah: Young woman         Tzfardeah: Frog
Tzafon: North                                  Tzipur: Bird, swallow           Tzar: Narrow
Tzarah: Trouble, sorrow                 Tzarich: Needful, necessary  Tzartzar: Cricket
Tzari: Balsam                                  Tzarah: Wasp, hornet
                              
At the noon hour the young woman within us stands at the window, now bathed in  golden winter light.
Watching the flight of the birds, she holds both the innocence of the young as well as 
inherited sorrows within her bones.

As the north-wind howls she watches the light shift, and the colors catch within the clouds, while the shadows dance within her.
She dreams. of gazelles bounding over the desert, of flocks grazing up north, of frogs and crickets singing in the summer night, of the turtle bathing in the sun on logs, while the hornets build their nest.
And she sits, waiting for spring.

The elder within us also sits as the day comes near her end, in this season which narrows us tucking us in confined spaces.
Savoring the beauty of winter, balsam to her soul, she knows each season comes for a reason, is numbered and needed, is a gift need be enjoyed.

So our inner community seeks the refuge of home, while the ice freezes, each wandering, wrestling, learning.

Tzavah: To wage war                 Tzad: To hunt, catch, capture
Tzivah: To command, order        Tzom: To fast
Tzachak: To laugh, jest, jeer       Tzatz:  To sprout, burgeon
Tziyeir: To draw, paint, portray   Tzalach: To succeed, do well, prosper
Tzzamei: Thirst                            Tzamach: To sprout, grow, spring up
Tzaak: To shout, call out              Tzieir: To grieve
Tzafon: To hide

In this time of dark and inwardness, when the outer terrain lies quiet, our internal world awakens.
Wars arise, parts cry out for help, others run for cover.
In quiet of winter, we're called to pay attention. To capture messages given in dream, and learn to laugh at fears and barriers that spring up trying to stop our quest.
It requires a hearty soul. A thirst for life.
We fast in preparation, and begin.

Moving past inner mocking voices, we follow those that whisper the truth,
stopping when called to, to sit and grieve.
We draw our inner images, sprouts that rise in our night dreams.
And slowly we find our way. Our way, we slowly find.

Tzion: Zion                                         Tzedek: Justice
Tzhirah: Shining                                Tzahalah: Joy, mirth, shouting
Tzelem: Image, form. semblance       Tznua: Modest, meek, humble
Tzafun: Hidden secrets                      Tzelophechad
Tsfat

And in the darkness there is shining. And in sleep comes rest. And we remember, we were sculpted in the image of God.
And we dream of Zion streaming with light, and of people dancing in the streets of Tzfat.
And like the daughters of Zelophechad, justice-seekers, we walk with joy and strength in our steps,
carrying the hidden secrets that lie rippling in our souls.

And when we rise, we strive again to walk the paths of wisdom,
to travel humbly, and to live with heart.
And so our courage we renew, as we walk with joy into our awaiting lives.