Dov Lederberg

Tishrei — תשרי @ Sefer Yetzira

The Tribe associated with Tishrei is Efrayim
Joseph named his second son Efrayim – אפרים
כִּי-הִפְרַנִי אֱלֹהִים בְּאֶרֶץ עָנְיִי
For G-d has made me fruitful הִפְרַנִי
in the land of my affliction.

Being “fruitful” is the power
to procreate in marital union.
This derives from God’s first commandment to Adam
on the day of his creation–the first of Tishrei.
This is also connected to the special Attribute of this month:
The sense of Touchingמשמוש which is cognate in Hebrew
to the word שימוש “marital relations”.
Being fruitful can also apply to any creative activity
where we bring into world “children” –
new visions and spiritual energies,
actualizing potentials that have been blocked.

The month of Tishrei begins the period (תקופה)
of the Autumn, which comprises
the three months of Tishrei, Cheshvan, and Kislev.
corresponding to the tribes of
Efrayim, Menashe, Benjamin,
who in the desert encampment
around the Tabernacle
were situated to the west.

The banner of Efrayim contained an image of a bull,
again a symbol of fertility and strength.
The bull was also the sign of Joshua bin Nun,
the direct descendant of Efrayim.
who conquered the Land of Israel.
However, the Tribe has also a negative history
since it participated in the secession from
the Kingdom of Judah and was
ultimately exiled by the Assyrians.

Thus Efrayim is often regarded by the Prophets
as the rebellious and wayward child
who in spite of his misdeeds is
is still deeply loved by his father
who waits for him to change his ways,
as implied in the Rosh HaShanah liturgy:
הבן יקיר לי אפרים
which we should internalize
within our prayers during the High Holidays
(as we all have an aspect of Efrayim).

The Hebrew Letter that permeates Tishrei
is the Lamed ל, the only letter
whose shape bursts above
the upper boundary of the other letters.
As such it is referred to by the Sages as a
“tower soaring in the air” מִגְדָּל פּוֹרֵחַ בָּאֲוִיר
similar to a rocket escaping earth’s gravity.

This symbolizes our yearning and aspiration
to escape the gravity of our body
and fixed mental habits
“to think out of the box”
and return to our Source
the essence of God’s Infinite Being.
This is the experience of true teshuvah
תשוב-ה (“returning the fallen hai ה to God”)

See video below:

The desire to fly high and soar in meditation
has its psychological dangers
unless one can return and be “grounded”
by learning Torah and performing mitzvot,
making a “bayit” or home for God to dwell in.
This is hinted by observing that the Lamed ל
is last letter of the Torah in the word: ישראל
This connects (on Simchat Torah) when
read again the first chapter of the Beginning
of the Torah: בראשית
whose first letter is the bayit ב
ישראל + בראשית
Together they form the word: לב Heart.
A healthy heart has the balance between
the “run and return”, the pulse of life.

The need for balance is also hinted by the
Zodiac Sign or Mazal for the month:
Libra (The Scales) המאוזניים
which suggest that
all of the deeds of man
are now being weighed in judgment.
Also the word: מאוזניים is cognate
with the Hebrew word for “ears” אוזניים
especially the “inner ear”, the source
for equilibrium and balance.
More information at

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About the Author
Dov Lederberg is engaged in the converging vectors of art and science, but receives added inspiration from Kabbalah teachings & meditation and tries to create visual forms (in paintings on canvas but also video art) conducive to mystical experience and self-transformation. 
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