Tammuz Me to Tears
You can always find a little light in the darkness.
But first, The Shabbat Drop Referral Program
Hi reader! I have a summer goal to get 50 more subscribers, and good news: you can help make that happen! Substack started a referral program. Share The Drop, and you can win some cool prizes.
How to participate:
1. Share The Shabbat Drop. When you send the referral link below to friends in a text, email, or on social media, or the “Share” button on any post, you'll get credit for any new subscribers. Tell them it’s a mitzvah to read this newsletter.
2. Earn benefits. When more friends use your referral link to subscribe, you’ll receive special benefits. 5 referrals gets you an in-person or virtual cup of coffee and a deep Jewish chat with me. 10 referrals gets you a pastrami sandwich (or any Jewish food) and another nice Jewish chat. 25 referrals get you a surprise Jewish book in the mail. Plus, you’ll get your name on the leaderboard. Don’t you want to be The Shabbat Drop’s top fan?!
To learn more, check out Substack’s FAQ. Happy sharing!
Things are heating up this month, and not just because it’s summer! It’s also the Hebrew month of Tammuz, which means “heating” according to Rashi. Heating, like a glowing furnace. Like the pain the Israelites felt when Ancient Jerusalem was engulfed in flame when the Romans breached its walls in 69 CE. Like that which fires up your soul and causes you to weep.
This month and the next month of Av are known as “two weeping eyes” because of all the tragic events that occurred in Jewish history, which we’ll get into more in depth next month. In short, Tammuz contains themes of light, darkness, and healing.
Light and darkness? But how can this be, Rabbi Miranda?!
Each month corresponds with the meaning and energy of a Hebrew letter. The letter that corresponds with Tammuz is chet. The first time it appears in the Torah, it spells the word choshech, or darkness. We’re at a dark time in the Jewish calendar, specifically in the Three Weeks of mourning the destruction of our temple… but you know what other word begins with chet? Chaim. Life.
"And the earth was chaos and void, and darkness/'choshech' was upon the face of the deep…G‑d said let there be light, and there was light. God saw the light that it was good…" (Genesis 1:2-4)
Just as there was darkness, G-d spoke of and saw light. Because of this, Tammuz represents trying to see in the dark. You can’t have one without the other, either; you need dark to see light just as much as you need light to notice the darkness around you.
For this very spiritual month, I have included some journal prompts below on these themes. I encourage you - while we still have some days left this month - to find a peaceful, quiet spot and write out answers to these questions. If you’re not a journaler, call up a friend and share your answers to these questions. Maybe you can find a little light in each other. D’aww.
What’s some darkness in your life right now? How can you find light within that darkness?
Who helped you through the darkest period of your life? Did you thank them?
What’s something you did to help yourself get through a dark time in your life? When’s the last time you did that for yourself?
What’s something in front of you that you may not be seeing or choose not to see?
Is there someone you can practice seeing in a better light?
Where can you open your eyes more towards wonder and curiosity?
With much love and light (and sweat),