Each month, as we know, has its own unique Tetragrammaton combination that represents the Light, energy, and gifts available to us that month. And the Tetragrammaton for the month we are entering into, the month of Taurus, or Iyar, is Yud Hei Hei Vav. The Ari teaches us this is connected to the attainment of understanding and wisdom; therefore, in this month, the kabbalists teach, the gift of coming to true understanding is available.
"The gift of coming to true understanding is available."
But, what is true understanding? It’s not about having more information, studying more facts, or knowing more things. Rather, what having real wisdom, knowledge and understanding means is having the ability to see everything. We experience many things in our life – some good, some not so good. However, if we had perfect vision, if we had the ability to see the purpose of everything and the Light of the Creator in everything, then we would see nothing but goodness. The reason we experience negativity or darkness is only because we’re limited in our vision.
If we were able to have real vision, to have real understanding of why things are happening – not logically, but to be able to see deeper into them and see the Light in them - we would experience everything in life completely differently. It is a gift of this month of Taurus: to come to a true vision, an understanding of why things are happening, so that, ultimately, we see Light in every experience we have.
So, how do we attain that true vision?
There’s a story in the Zohar portion of Emor that gives us a deeper understanding of this lesson, and connects directly to the Light of the beginning of the month of Taurus. We don’t often find Rav Shimon bar Yochai reprimanding his students, but here, we do. It says that Rav Shimon was walking with five of his students; as we know, they would always walk and travel, studying together, gaining knowledge, and vision. So, as they’re walking, they come to a field with water throughout it. One of the five students, Rav Yossi, falls into this trough of water, and his clothes get wet and dirty. He becomes angry and says, “I wish this didn’t exist!” to which Rav Shimon reprimands him, “You are not allowed to ever disparage anything, because it is for the good of the world, it is doing something positive in this world. You cannot speak negatively of it, you cannot have a negative vision of it; you have to see it as positive. You can’t get angry at it, because it has a purpose.”
"How do we attain that true vision?"
In this case, it’s obvious the positive purpose of the water is to allow crops to grow that will feed people, but sometimes, we can’t see how any good will possibly come out of a situation we are in. However, it doesn’t matter. Rav Shimon is telling him, and us, that it’s very dangerous to get angry at negativity and to disparage things that have hurt us. Why? Rav Shimon quotes a verse from the process of creation, which says the Creator created everything - including snakes, scorpions, and mosquitoes – and everything is good. Therefore, Rav Shimon says we cannot talk disparagingly about or negatively view anything that causes us a bad experience, because they all have a positive purpose in this world.
Then this story is followed immediately by another story. Rav Shimon and the same five students are walking, when a snake suddenly comes in front of them, to which Rav Shimon says, “I’m sure that this snake is going to create a miracle for us.” The snake then meets a more dangerous snake coming towards them, and fights it. The first snake kills the more dangerous snake, and then it dies itself. They see the two snakes lying there, and Rav Shimon says, “I’m thankful to the Creator for creating this snake and sending this miracle for us, because had the first snake not come to fight, the second snake would have bit at least one of us, and would have harmed or killed us. We have awakened protection, and no negativity can come to us. You see, as I told you - everything in this world has a purpose.”
It is not a coincidence that these two stories come one after the other. Rav Shimon bar Yochai knew that we all need protection. But we have to understand that protection not only comes from the things we like, but sometimes, the greatest protection comes from the things that we don’t, and if we do not appreciate those things, they can’t protect us. When we disparage the things that hurt us, it is as though we are telling the Creator that there are certain things we don’t want next to us in our lives, and then those things, and that Light, can’t protect us. The snake protected Rav Shimon and his students because they knew that snakes were good, that everything we experience has goodness within it, and that when we see it that way, we are protected by it.
So, to go back to the earlier question, how do we gain vision? We do so by starting to see the things we previously thought were negative and saying, “There’s some goodness here. I might not see it, but there’s goodness in it.” And if we grow our consciousness in this way, we can begin to receive the protection that comes from all the creations of this world. The more we push ourselves to see the goodness in every situation and in everything, the more we can draw upon ourselves the protection that we all need. It is a beautiful gift available to us as we enter into, and throughout, the month of Taurus.