New Moon Meditations
By Dr. Terry Segal
Rosh Chodesh Sivan began Tuesday, June 7, launching the third of the Hebrew months.
Threes are very symbolic in Judaism, as are sevens. There are three pilgrimage festivals: Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. On the 3rd of Sivan, the Israelites prepared for three days, called the Three Days of Separation, to receive the Torah. HaShem gave the three-part written Torah — the Torah, Prophets and Writings — to Moses, the third child born in his family, after Miriam and Aaron. HaShem divided the Jewish people into three groups: the Kohanim, the Levites, and the rest, as Yisrael. Three also represents the past, present and future.
During Sivan we commemorate being given the Torah by G-d at Mount Sinai on Shavuot. This is the 50th day after the second night of Pesach, culminating the counting of the Omer for 49 days. We walk back through our history along with our ancestors, who took the seven-week journey of body, mind and spirit.
The Jewish people had the task of integrating their prior experience of life with the new one. Connected to their past but no longer a part of it, they were charged with embracing the past, going beyond or transcending their present, and integrating everything into the new, expanded consciousness of the future that Moses and Aaron brought.
Because I promised to use familiar images to relate to these events, the ritual of graduation comes to mind. College graduates are from all different backgrounds. They may have families who didn’t receive higher education or, like many of us, those who grew up without technology. Some have technologically advanced families. While they remain connected to their family systems, they become the catalysts for new systems that are both inclusive and transcendent.
Philosopher and author Ken Wilbur explains his concept of inclusion, transformation and transcendence as a critical component of evolution in his book “A Brief History of Everything.”
The keynote speaker at graduation ceremonies invites the graduates to look back at the path they have walked toward the day of receiving of their diplomas, expands their consciousness, and urges them, as links to the future, to forge greater paths ahead. We, too, have a sacred obligation to stay connected to our past, integrate it with our present world, and become links to keeping Judaism alive and relevant to future generations.
Sivan’s Hebrew letter is zayin; Zodiac sign, Gemini; tribe, Zevulun; sense, walking; and controlling limb, left foot.
The Hebrew letter zayin looks like a crown. This holds the energy in place at the top of the head, as does a mortarboard at graduation.
Gemini, represented by twins, presents an ongoing struggle between the head and the heart. Those born under this sign are intellectual, great communicators, quick-witted, interesting and enthusiastic.
They’re talented but also get bored quite easily, following their hearts into different realms and changing their focus often. They excel in careers that offer constant change and opportunities to communicate but don’t do well with repetitive tasks. This challenges us to tell the stories of our past and be creative in our communication as we connect the heart and head of our history to future generations.
The tribe of Zevulun was given land on the west coast of Israel so they were seafarers and merchants. They bridged the gap between the world of spiritual quests and material possessions.
The sense of walking is highlighted as it reminds us of the pilgrimage of our people and our own paths ahead.
The controlling limb of this month, the left foot, is on the feminine side of the circuitry of the body, which tells us to include the spiritual, nurturing and emotional aspects of the story, along with the facts and rituals.
Meditation focus: Imagine that it is you being given the gift of the Torah today. The rituals and practices have been handed down through the generations, yet many now are inclusive of female, gay and lesbian, and transgender Jews. Those with disabilities are acknowledged and included, as are those who come from interracial and interfaith unions.
As the conduit from the past to the future, what will you hand down to the generations to come?