This post is about the Jewish month of Tammuz, as it relates to The Chazak Plan: A 12 Month Journey to Spiritual Strength.
Rosh Chodesh Tammuz begins Tuesday night, the 16th of June, and lasts for two days.
This month, the 17th of Tammuz, usually a fast day, falls out on Shabbat. The fast is postponed to Sunday, July 5th. The fast commemorates the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the First Temple. This is the beginning of the period known as The Three Weeks which ends next month on Tisha B’Av, the day we mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples. The Sages teach that a key reason the Messiah has not yet come to rebuild the Temple is because of the sin of hating one’s fellow Jew.
We are a small nation surrounded by enemies bent on our destruction. To defeat the hatred against our people, we need to defeat the hatred within our people. This month, go out of your way to be forgiving and overlook the faults of others. Pick one person, and either work on forgiving them or reducing the bitterness you feel.
Ask yourself, “What is the first step I can take to try to resolve a conflict I have with someone? How can I keep the disagreement from deteriorating into personal animosity?”
Related to the topic of forgiveness, one of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s most transformative teachings is his emphasis on finding the good in others and in ourselves (Likutey Moharan I, 282). A complementary practice is to realize that we all have difficulties and to feel compassion for our own challenges and for those of others. Each day, look for the good in yourself and others, and feel compassion for the struggles we all face. Then, you will be more forgiving and loving toward others and yourself.
For additional discussion on the sin of hating one’s fellow Jew, see, “How to Remove Your Number One Spiritual Stumbling Block.”
A number of misfortunes have occurred to the Jewish people during The Three Weeks. Because of this, this month and next month’s focus is also on how to overcome adversity.
Readings for the month:
Conflict Resolution: How to Win the Battle for Peace
The Freedom of Forgiveness: 3 Strategies to Letting Go
Discover Your Inner Peace
When Rabbis Behave Badly: How to respond to disturbing news
“Why?” 5 Reasons for Suffering
Take care, and may God grant us success in the coming month,