Rosh Chodesh Tevet begins at sundown Dec. 27. Our task is to rectify our sight. Ayin is the Hebrew letter appearing as two eyes with the connecting stem. Usually I write of exploring inner and outer vision during Tevet. This year, I invite you to consider a different kind of vision. It’s seeing things that aren’t visibly present, such as Hashem and the angels. It may require a leap of faith. There’s that old expression, “Look before you leap,” suggesting that we not jump into something foolishly, where we might get hurt. But what might that look like from the opposite perspective? Never mind not leaping, but not even looking! Sometimes thoughts, actions, and behaviors can become so rote, so predictable, that rote turns into rut. There are no new solutions to the same old problems. There’s no growth, no change. That can be just as damaging as blindly leaping.
I’ve long believed in assistance from angels and am currently writing about them, beyond this article. I jokingly refer to them as the Maytag Repair Angels, sitting around waiting for people to actually call upon them. It’s a spoof on the old Maytag repairman advertisements in which they were called the “loneliest men in the world.” The idea was that the washers and dryers were so well-made that no one ever needed their services. But does every day feel like Shabbat in our current world? Not so much. So why not expand our vision, allowing us to “see” Hashem at work, open our eyes to subtle synchronicities, circumstances that seem to come from nowhere or the unfolding of events that could not have been imagined?
With the Chanukah lights illuminating the darkness for eight nights, we brighten the world. But what about after that? We must cultivate light from within so that we’re beacons of light, hope, change and faith, ongoing. But we need help to do that.
God sends messengers, mal’ach, in Hebrew, that early biblical sources say bring specific information to us or perform certain tasks. According to an article from My Jewish Learning titled, “Do Jews Believe in Angels?” there are many rabbinic and Kabbalistic sources that cite the presence of angels during important historical events. For example, there’s the angel that prevents Abraham from killing his son, Isaac. What if he hadn’t been listening or disregarded the message? The patriarch, Jacob, wrestles with an angel and Sarah is informed that she will bear a son. The Talmud teaches that two ministering angels accompany us home from synagogue on Shabbat evening. The good angel, seeing that the home has properly been prepared for Shabbat, says, “May it be Your will that it shall be like this for another Shabbat.” The evil angel begrudgingly answers, “Amen.” If the home is not properly prepared though, the opposite occurs. The evil angel says, “May it be Your will that it shall be like this for another Shabbat.” The good angel is required to respond with “Amen.”
I can already imagine the arguments against heightening our awareness to angelic whisperings. “How will I know if I’m listening to a good angel or a bad one?” It’s kind of like falling in love. You will know when it’s the real deal. You become aligned with joy, security and peace as you transform into the best version of yourself.
Consider listening to your heart and expand your awareness beyond the edge of the familiar. Do it in a natural way by quieting the noise of the outside world and setting aside your internal noise for a time. Sit in the dark for several minutes and just listen to your breath move in and out of your body without trying to alter it. Then light a candle. Notice how illuminating the darkness brings comfort.
Meditation Focus: Imagine yourself receiving guidance from Hashem or the angels about some issue. Consider what that would feel like for you. Notice if it’s difficult to accept help. Inspiration, (literally “in spirit,”) often arrives in a dream state, while “sleeping on it,” or upon awakening. Spend the month of Tevet honing your skills to observe the presence of angels, even in the smallest of ways. ■