In this short essay we will first describe the general order of months in our calendar and talk about the two saddest months in particular. Then we will describe how this relates to the book of Eicha we are about to read.


It is known (Arizal, Shaar Hakavonos, Rosh Hashanah, Nahar Shalom 39b) that the six summer months and the six winter month are projections of one another. Both six month periods correspond to the Sefiros from Chesed till Yesod, (for more information about Sefiros, see our article 10centuriesenglish.htm).


Summer months

 Winter months


Translation of Sefirah








Strength, Judgment



















We thus find the Exodus from Egypt during the month of kindness (Nisan); in Iyar our nation was tested by a war with Amalek (Gevurah); during Sivan – Torah was given (Tiferes). Tamuz and Av was the time when the spies were inspecting the land of Israel. These two months are given over to the dominion of Eisav (Zohar 2:78b) and the greatest catastrophes befell our nation at these times. In our article 10centuriesenglish.htm we describe that during the centuries corresponding to Netzach and Hod, (by secular calander – years 1840 – till present) the worst punishments befell our nation. These punishments are predicted in the Torah’s chapters Ki Savo and Nitzavim, also corresponding to these two Sefiros. We also mention there that only the first half of Hod is sad, just as the corresponding Parsha in the Torah and so too are the events happening in the world during the first half of this century. At last, Elul (Yesod) is the time to do Teshuvah (its’ astrological sign is a virgin).


Similarly, during winter months, Tishrey is a happy holiday month (Kindness). Even though the judgment days are in the beginning of this month, our judgment is a happy one (Yerushalmi, Rosh Hashanah, 7b). We wear white and know we will be forgiven. Yom Kippur and Sukkos are the holidays when the Kindness of the Creator is revealed to its’ outmost. Cheshvan (Gevurah – Judgment) a sad month when the Great Flood started and when Yeroboam made the Golden Calves. Kislev is a happy month when the miracle of Hanukkah happened.  The next two months (Teves and Shevat) are sad (see Zohar 2:12a), just as the corresponding summer months. The tenth of Teves is a fast day commemorating the events preceding the destruction of the First Temple. Shevat turns into a happy month after the fifteenth (the New Year of trees), just as the 15th of Av is a happy day and so is the remainder of the month. At last, Adar, when the miracle of Purim happened, corresponds to Yesod, just as the soul of Mordechai (Arizal, Shaar Hakavonos, Purim).


Now, four of the five chapters of the book of Eicha are structured in alphabetical order, (the last chapter also has 22 verses, yet their order is not alphabetical). The alphabetical order in the first chapters has a notable exclusion: the letter  “ע “ – “Ayin” follows the letter  “פ” – “Pey” instead of preceding it. Our sages (Talmud, Sanhedrin 104b, Rashi on Eicha 2:16) explain the reason for this. The word “Ayin” besides being a letter also means an eye. The word “Pey” also means the mouth. The spies who were sent to inspect the Holy Land before the Jewish people would enter it brought a false report, they said with their mouths what they did not see with their eyes.


Bnei Issachar (Tamuz-Av) in the name of Sefer Yetzirah explains that the two saddest months in our calendar: Tamuz and Av correspond to “seeing” and “hearing”. The letters of alphabet that correspond to these months are “ח” and “ט” making together the word “sin”. Our sages say (Talmud, Sanhedrin 78) that the poison of a snake is between its’ teeth. The word snake “נחש” has letters “שן” – tooth and a letter “ח” between them. Similarly, the word “שטן Satan has the letters “שן” and a letter “ט” in between. In general, “ח” and “ט” represent two types of sins – open assault and secret enmity where the attacking is done with hypocrisy, through gossiping and ruining someone’s reputation. Similarly the spies are considered to have spoken Loshon Hara about the Land of Israel (Talmud, Arachim, 15a).


Bnei Issachar also writes that these two months correspond to the tribes of Reuben and Shimon – Reuben comes from the word “to see”, while Shimon – “to hear”. These two tribes did not fulfill their potential to the outmost. Yakov did not bless them but rather criticized them even at his deathbed. During our wonderings in the desert, Reuben’s descendants (Dasan and Aviram) were constantly opposing Moshe and ended up swallowed by the Earth. Shimon’s descendants sinned with Midianite women and were punished by a plague…


Our job now is to rectify the two senses – the sense of seeing and the sense of speaking/hearing. We have to work on our eyes, ears and mouth, and when we are successful, Hashem will “See” our affliction, “Hear”our prayers and redeem us from exile!