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Iyar, The Month of Healing

Uncategorized Apr 13, 2021

HEBREW MONTH: IYYAR

There is something very transformative and spiritually healing about the month of Iyyar if you know what to look for. I didn’t always know what I’m sharing with you, so I’m pretty excited to see where this month takes us. I don’t know about you, but I can sure use some transformation and spiritual healing in my life, what with all the chaos swirling around like a blizzard. In Montana, we get “false spring” a lot this time of year. Just when we think the weather has stabilized into consistently warm temperatures, BOOM! A snowstorm.  That’s often the way it is with the chaotic parts of life, too. 

The blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul.
—Leonard Cohen

I remember an episode of the TV show Little House on the Prairie (also the book) where Pa, at the first sign of a blizzard, ties a rope from the back door out to the barn. He knows how treacherous it can be during whiteout conditions to even just walk outside in one’s own backyard. There were too many stories of people wandering off the path and freezing to death because they couldn’t see where to go. I have experienced these whiteouts firsthand and they are terrifying. 



If you don't know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere. - Unknown

 

I’ve come to think of Iyyar as a section of TV Pa’s rope, laid out for us by Heavenly Pa, so we can both know where we came from and know where we’re going, when our sight is limited. Hold on tight, there’s a blizzard out there! The month of Iyyar ropes us from where we came from last month (Nisan celebrates our deliverance from slavery and the great Exodus) to where we’re going next month (Sivan celebrates Shavuot/Pentecost, the giving of the Torah and the giving of the Spirit). These events in the history of Israel as a Nation/children of God are linked or roped through the special Counting of the Omer that runs the entirety of the month of Iyyar. 

As you count, you walk. As you walk, you count. One hand in front of the other. You count each forward step, one a day. One…two…three…four.  We get our start at the month of Nissan, where we remember and are told to re-live how the Nation was born from the narrow place of slavery and confinement. 

 

Five…six…seven…

 

In the month of Iyyar, the Nation enters the period of intense character growth and the yearning for full maturity (not unlike the adolescent years). Spiritual healing is needed to make it forward without getting off the path.

 

Eight…nine…ten…

 

In the month of Sivan, next month, we receive the Torah and the Spirit... forty-eight…forty-nine…fifty! We made it!

This month, every day is unique and elevated. Why? Because during the entire month, every day, you have the opportunity to do the great mitzvah (commandment) of counting the omer, stepping forward one more step, trusting the integrity of Heavenly Pa’s rope to hold you and take you where you need to be. And keep you from wandering off into danger. 

 

By holding the rope, you may not be able to see how far you have come (because of the blizzard), and you may not be able to see how far ahead you still need to travel. But by holding on, you will definitely stay on the path and not wander off. And, when you know to count to fifty, you can get a sense of where you’re at in relation to where you need to be. If you have counted 25, you are half-way there. TV Pa’s rope system didn’t have this extra security measure built in, but Heavenly Pa’s does! Take advantage of it! This month of Iyyar is made up of all days of counting. It’s a special month of spiritual healing!

Iyyar1 was called “Ziv” before the Babylonian captivity. 2 Ziv means radiance. The month of Iyyar is called the month of Divine healing, because it was during this month that the Holy One promised that our illnesses would not be happenstance. Iyyar gets its name as an acronym of Ani Adonai Rofecha, "I am The LORD your Healer."  

26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” Exodus 15:26

The literal meaning of refuah shlema means a complete healing. In modern Hebrew it’s said for “get well soon.” Speaking of wells, I learned that it’s tradition to associate the first appearance of Miriam’s well (Be’erah shel Miriam) during the month of Iyyar. What is Miriam’s Well?3 The Torah relates that during the wilderness wandering, the Israelites were accompanied by a rock (well) from which a divine and miraculously abundant supply of water flowed. 

The Torah’s mention of the death of Miriam, Moses’ sister, is coupled with the announcement that the Israelites had run out of drinking water. (Numbers 20:1-2) These two events being placed side by side in Torah suggests a causal relationship. As long as Miriam lived, this miraculous well was available to the Israelites. When she died, this source dried up. 4

Wells and water figure prominently in the scriptures, and often for spiritual healing. Yeshua tells us to come to Him when we are thirsty (John 7:37). It’s all very poetic and lovely. But what does it mean in everyday life? Health practitioners tell us that once we feel thirst, we’re already dehydrated. So, they recommend that we drink throughout the day to keep from getting thirsty. I want this for my spiritual practice, too! Iyyar is the month for Divine spiritual healing – I want to drink deeply! And often. 

 

Come to Me, all who are thirsty!” Yeshua speaks to those who are already spiritually dehydrated. But that doesn’t mean we are only welcomed by Him in that state of being! I spent much of my early believing life depleating myself of spiritual water until things got so bad (thirsty) that I gulped down what God offered until I was satiated. The problem with that was then I went on my merry way, thinking I have all my own answers to life, until the next time I became spiritually drained. And yes, He met me in my thirst. But now that I know I can have more, I want more. 

 

What is the greatest spiritual healing I can receive? I think it is knowing my place, as a child of the Creator of all. I think it’s when I cease from trying to be God and rest in His role as Heavenly Pa. When I don’t go out into the blizzard without His rope. When I trust Him by moving one counted step at a time – forward. Trading my old identity of sin-slave in exchange for the identity I’ve really had all along, a child of the King. A child who is heir to the Torah and Spirit. If the healing I seek doesn’t take me there, it takes me nowhere. How about you?

Bringing Him into the everyday parts of my life is a drink of water I want to sip all day. I want to take in His Presence throughout the day, and by that, I mean I want to recognize He is God and I am not (to recognize this truth in my own life and in the life of my family and those in my sphere of influence). I don’t just want to drink this in, just when I am feeling the loss. I don’t want to wait anymore until I feel drained and “thirsty,” you know? How about you?

 

I want to remember to bring His Presence (acknowledging His sovereignty over me) into all of my day’s moments. Into all of my “counting days” and beyond. How about you? What helps you stay hydrated? My newly-started gratitude journal (about 40 days in so far) has really helped me to bring more awareness of Him throughout my day. I am training myself to thank Him for this and that throughout the day even after my journal time in the morning. When I am more aware of Him, I am more likely to remember He set up a rope to the barn. I don’t dare go out with grabbing hold. This is spiritual healing for me. 

 

LET THE HEALING RAINS COME!


1Iyyar is a name of Babylonian origin
21 Kings 6:1, 6:37
3For an amazing three-part teaching on Miriam, check out Grace in Torah: https://graceintorah.net/2014/02/23/miriams-cup-part-i/
4Rashi commenting on Numbers 20:2; b. Ta'anit 9a; Song of Song Rabba 4:14, 27 
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