Updated: Jan 6
The birth of the new moon represents a period of renewal, this is known as Rosh Chodesh (the head of the month) in Judaism. Rosh Chodesh is a mini holiday celebrated with learning, goal setting, meditation, all to absorb the light of the new month. Shevat is the 11th month from Nissan, the fifth month from Tishrei, and corresponds to the January - February months in the Gregorian calendar.
When we dive deeper into learning about Rosh Chodesh, there are many secrets to reveal on how to utilize the month. For example, every Hebrew month is related to one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The Hebrew month of Shevat is connected to the tribe of Asher. By learning about the tribe, we are able to reveal secrets about the month. More on this is to follow.
The month of Shevat marks the beginning of a new shift in energy and that is the subtle start of sweet spring. In the previous months, we found ourselves in stillness. We were called to hibernate, reflect on our lives, turn inwards. The rain watered the earth, strengthening the roots of nature and our very own mindset for the months to come.
In the Hebrew name of Shevat, we can decipher a few secrets that can truly guide us in optimizing the energy of the month. To start off, Shevat can stand for the Hebrew expression Shenishma Besurot Tovot, that we should be blessed to hear/share good news שנשמע/שנתבשר בשורות טובות. “Shevat" comes from the Babylonian term for abundant rain - relating to water, nurturing, growth, and nourishment. Moving out from our personal hibernation that the winter months pulled us into can be scary and uncertain. However, if you have taken these winter times to grow your faith, create business plans, create a vision, explore your potential and so on, the next step for you is to take steps that feel slightly uncomfortable towards achieving them. Beyond planning, these winter months are for you to rediscover your flame, what lights you up, and where you want to go. If you haven’t taken the time to go inwards in the winter, it is never too late to create a vision and act on it. Take those steps, no matter how small towards your goals, dreams, business, and relationship. Believe in yourself. Believe in Hashem. Have certainty all is working out for you, all you need to do is take action, even when it feels slightly uncomfortable.
The energy of the month is expanding into our truest selves. Once when we take those first steps outwards, the seeds we’ve planted on Rosh Hashana and the winter months hopefully received enough water and nourishment to start sprouting outwards. This climax occurs on Tu’Bshvat- the 15th of Shevat, more on this to come. The Kabbalists teach us that each month is controlled by a spiritual frequency represented by one of the permutations of God’s name, The Tetragrammaton – יהו”ה. According to the Zohar, each permutation is encoded as the initials of a certain verse from the bible. The permutation for Shevat is היו”ה (Hei Yod Vav Hei) and it is coded in the initials of the verse – “המר ימירנו והיה הוא” (“…and if he converts it at all, then both it and that for which it is converted to shall be holy…” – Leviticus 27,33) which indicates the powers of Shevat to make transformations and have changes in our life.
Shevat corresponds with the tribe of Asher. The name “Asher” (אַשֵׁר) means “pleasure” and “happiness.” Other connotations are: to be straight (yashar), honest, to go forward, to prosper. The blessings of the tribe by Yaakov greatly refer to the abundance of grains and food of the land of Israel, “Asher’s food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies” (Genesis 49:20). From this, it is clear that Asher represents the sense of taste and eating.
Asher is the tribe of community, happiness, and abundance. The symbol of Asher’s tribe is a fruitful olive tree, representing prosperity and relevance to the north of Israel.
When Asher was born, Leah was joyous from birth and named Zilpah’s second son, Asher. The tribe of Asher is known for the abundance of olive trees and oil,
Thus, in the name of Asher reveals divine secrets of the energy of the month - HAPPINESS, PROSPERITY, AFFLUENCE, and the connection to the enjoyment of good food.
Shevat corresponds to the air sign, Aquarius. The astrological sign of the month gives us clues on how to contain happiness. Aquarius, in Hebrew דְלִי, translates to “the bucket”. A bucket is just an ordinary container made to hold water, but in Judaism water has enormous spiritual symbolism. Water normally refers to the wisdom of the Torah. Learning Torah refills our spiritual buckets that then naturally flow into our physical lives. Filling up our buckets of spiritual “water”, enables us to live life with the Light of the Creator and pour wisdom of the Torah into the buckets of others.
Just how water needs a container to be held in, so does happiness. The container holding the water and happiness needs to be created in a way that allows you to carry the container and open the container for you to share the water and happiness with others. The container also allows us to draw down the abundance and prosperity from the upper worlds into our lives.
Each season has three astrological signs that create an alignment of three energetic forces – called in Kabbalah right, left, and central columns (plus, minus, and a neutral, respectively). Aquarius is the second sign of the winter (left column, minus), which means that it contains very strong forces of attraction, drawing, and a desire to receive. Hence the strong ambition of the Aquarius, their tendency to focus on achieving their goals, and their stubbornness and the difficulty to destroy them.
There are two opposite sides of the Aquarians. On one hand, they are selfish, individualistic, and mostly occupied with themselves. You cannot restrain or restrict them. Their freedom is essential to them, if necessary they will fight to break down the walls and barriers that others put around them. Looking at the last centuries, the walls of slavery fell one after another while humankind accomplished freedom in the areas of human rights, technology, and politics.
On the other hand, Aquarians love people and socializing; however, their selfish nature prevents them from emotional commitment. That explains why in our generation, known as The Age of Aquarius, people tend to disregard the traditional family structure for their own careers, where they have plenty of acquaintances but few close friends.
Last month in Capricorn the energy was harsh and the need to slow down. Tevet was also a time to nourish our souls, ignite our flames, and find the Light of Hashem in hardships. In Shevat, the energy of Aquarius is felt by everyone, not only specific for those born under this month, but it is amplified for them. After months in hibernation, we are asked to gently move forward, outwards, take action, make changes in our lives, break down old structures- even the smallest things count.
The message of the month is to break down the old, create a larger vessel to receive abundance and happiness. The energy of Aquarians is the ability to transcend above boundaries and overcome limits. They have no desire for the things that connect everyone else to the earth such as habits, tradition, commitments, routine. Don’t get stuck in the past, move forward this month.
Aquarians, an air sign, are unique people. They are intellectual and have a great desire for knowledge. Although struggling to see the small details, when they have a mission, they fly and see the big picture. They believe they can change the world and time is of no concern for success.
Aquarian energy can help you tap into unlimited potential just waiting for you (re)discover (remember, Aquarians teardown structures), it is a great time to move ahead with projects, ideas, and take steps out of your comfort zone. You are backed by Hashem in Aquarian’s energy of new growth and personal expansion this month.
Learn to fly high this month by being in balance with your desires, heart, and mind. Make calculative moves, sit with the idea before you choose to execute, and check in with yourself and Hashem every step of the way. With all the success, abundance, and happiness, remember to acknowledge the Creator that made it possible for you to experience this.
The tikkun of the Aquarians and for everyone this month is to make the first move, focus on the details, and get the job done.
The month of Aquarius symbolizes redemption, corresponding to the olive tree that is a symbol of peace. The Aquarian sees the unity already there and it can truly be felt this month. Although one can feel peace and unification, we live in the physical world where actions count, and this is the weak point of the Aquarian and everyone this month (time to come out of your personal hibernation!)- TAKE ACTION!
Aquarius is ruled by two planets. Saturn is the planet of change, organization, boundaries, order, discipline. Uranus is the planet of originality, individualistic humanitarian, and visionary. Uranus elevates us to a new potential and new concepts creating a difference between Saturn the rules Capricorn and Auqaurias are different energies because of the influence of Uranus.
Knowing which letter corresponds to each month allows us to connect to the energy and discover deeper meanings behind each month. According to Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Formation) – written by Abraham the Patriarch – the building blocks of the universe consist of 22 different frequencies, spiritual forces, represented by the 22 Hebrew letters. Each month is ruled by two Hebrew letters. One letter rules the planet that dominates the sign. The other letter rules the astrological sign of the month. Shevat’s planet is Saturn and is ruled by the letter ב (Beit). Its astrological sign is Aquarius, which is ruled by the letter צ (Tsadik).
The letter tzadik (צ) symbolizes a tzadik (“righteous one”). This reveals those that are the sign of Aquarius are also related to the redemption and the arrival of the Messiah. The redemption will come when we all are Tsadikim (righteous) – the letter צ Tsadik, when everyone (not only Aquarius) transforms their selfish desires into receiving only for the purpose of sharing.
The very form of the letter tzadik (especially its final form, ץ, which represents the true manifestation of the tzadik in the future) resembles a tree. In the Torah, man is called “the tree of the field” (עֵץ הַשָׂדֶה), which equals 474. 474 is also the gematria of “knowledge” (דַעַת), the unique property of man in general and of the tzadik in particular. The word “knowledge” in Hebrew implies the power of “connection.” Thus, the month of Shevat is the month for connecting to the true tzadik of the generation, the Tree of Life of the generation.
Sense of the month is eating, taste - a great opportunity to elevate the eating experience, be more mindful of how we eat, and fuel our body with nourishment.
The rectified sense of eating is the special sense of the tzadik, as is said: “The tzadik eats to satisfy his soul” (Proverbs 13:25). This verse continues: “but the stomach of the wicked is always lacking.” The soul-oriented tzadik feels “full” and happy with a little; the body-oriented wicked person never feels content.
Eating from the Tree of Life, the tzadik/tzadika derives great pleasure (“life” in Torah means “pleasure”) from the Divine sparks of light and lifeforce present within the food he/she eats. He/she becomes aware that a man/woman cannot be sustained by physical means alone (including food) but also on the Light of Hashem.
The Arizal says that on Shabbat everything can be elevated, including food. Thus, it is well known to eat plenty on Shabbat. The word for “to satisfy [his soul]” (שֹׂבַע) is cognate to the word for “seven” (שֶׁבַע), hinting to the seventh day, Shabbat. A true tzadik experiences the pleasure of Shabbat the entire week (in the Zohar, the tzadik is called Shabbat). The word Shevat itself transforms to Shabbat (since the two letters tet and tav, both letters of the tongue, are phonetically interchangeable).
The body part that corresponds with Shevat is the stomach and esophagus. The relation between the stomach and the sense of eating (and taste) is clear.
Our sages state: “the kurkavan [esophagus] grinds.” The process of grinding is essential to digestion. Dissecting the coarse food substance to find parts is necessary in order to release the sparks of Divine lifeforce contained within the food. By “grinding” (similar to the “chewing” of the mouth) the stomach “tastes” the inner essence of the food. This inner, spiritual sense of taste controls the more external sense of taste and eating in the mouth.
Tu’Bshvat The letter צ (Tsadik) represents the spiritual power behind Aquarius that also represents the connection between the upper spiritual worlds and our material world. This connection manifests in Tu’Bshvat (Shevat 15th, the full moon in Aquarius) – The Year for the Trees – the Ilan (trees). The numerical value (Gematria) of Ilan (אילן tree) is 91 which is the connection between God’s name, The Tetragrammaton יהו”ה which represent the upper worlds and its value is 26, and God’s name אדנ”י which represents our material world and its value is 65 (and together 91). The New Year of Trees of the month of Shevat is the time that the rain waters of the winter months begin to ascend in the veins of the tree and bring it new life. The ascent of water, in general, is represented by the bucket (דְלִי), which in Hebrew stems from the root meaning “to lift up,” as in the verse “my eyes are lifted up to heaven” (Isaiah 38:14). The letter of the previous month, Tevet, is the ayin (ע), which literally means “an eye.” When the ayin of Tevet is lifted up to connect with the tzadik of Shevat, the word “tree” (עֵץ) is formed.
The Ba’al Shem Tov said that when one meets a water carrier carrying pitchers full of water, it is a sign of blessing. The tzadik is considered the true manifestation of a water carrier. More on Tu’Bshvat soon, be sure to sign up to the monthly newsletter to receive the blog post directly to your email!
Tools for Shevat
The intention of the month is the sense of change - break old structures, improve them, and move forward. Be mindful if you are holding yourself back from experiencing a new path or direction because of a structure or routine you built. Remind yourself this month breaks down structure for you to experience new potential and life.
The secret is the awakening has to come from below, from us. This is the concept of Maim Nukvin. Below is a brief explanation of this concept.
When we develop within ourselves a great longing and yearning for Hashem, this produces a corresponding yearning on His part and a union is created (zivug). This is a big secret. In Kabbalah, we call this Maim Nukvim and Maim Dochrim. What does this mean? Maim Nukvim is our effort to serve Hashem while Maim Dochrim is the energy/light(Siyata deShemaya) Hashem gives us in return for our effort. It is not always something that we can actually feel, but it is never in doubt that it is there. Some people are sensitive to things and can actually feel this energy, like a warm glow all around them. Hashem gives us energy/light (life force) regardless of whether we yearn for it or not. This is one of the biggest gifts that we get as it is unconditional, regardless of whether we deserve it or not.
Break down the old habits that did not serve you in the past couple of months, schedules, routines, behavioral patterns, and so on. Aquarian energy is to move forward. In this, you can learn the power of moving forward from the past to achieve happiness in the present. The stomach is also where one feels their worries during Shevat. Tune into these feelings as you break down old structures and step outside your comfort zone. Feel the excitement of what is to come and the freedom of exploring new paths. Be sure to eat with the purpose and intention of releasing sparks of Hashem to elevate your eating experience. If you feel nervous or worry in your stomach as you try new things this month, feel the worry, allow it to work through you. Feel it to heal it and keep moving forward. Meditate on צ״ב (the Hebrew letters of Shevat) to draw down Hashem’s protection and guidance.
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Einai, G. 2021. The Month of Shevat – According to The Book of Formation (Sefer Yetzirah). Retrieved from https://www.inner.org/times/shevat/shevat.htm
Live Kabbalah 2021. Shevat - Aquarius. Retrieved from https://livekabbalah.org/shevat-aquarius/ Lightsone, M. 2021. 8 Fast About the Hebrew Month of Shevat. Retrieved from https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2835457/jewish/8-Facts-About-the-Hebrew-Month-of-Shevat.htm
Makor, M. 2021. The Hebrew Month of Shevat. Retrieved from https://anglo-list.com/jewish-month-shevat/