The Hebrew Month of Tammuz: Seeing with Eyes of Faith

The Hebrew month of Tammuz is associated with a few spiritual themes, including:

Even reading these words carries a weightiness and a sober reminder. The Hebrew month of Tammuz is full of contradictions and extremes, ultimately representing the opportunity of choice.

When we remain in our identity in Yeshua, we can foresee victory and will be able to step into roles of leadership and faith. This discipline is extremely valuable in the Hebrew month of Tammuz. 

On the one hand, there will be sins and deficiencies, yet on the other, divine wisdom from the Light of the World offers to cleanse us from sin through repentance. This month, where we choose to walk, is connected to our strong belief about our true identity. 

Do you see yourself as a child of the King or as a slave in the wilderness?

Vision and the Tribe of Reuben | What You See Depends on What You Feel

  • So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, ‘The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.’”—Genesis 29:32 (emphasis added) 

Leah felt that she had been seen by God through Reuben’s birth. Thus, the Hebrew month of Tammuz and its connection to the tribe of Reuben is thought to represent:

  • Sight 
  • Vision 
  • Being seen 

Sight is a curious thing. We all can look at the same thing, and yet what we perceive is unique to our life experience. It depends on the condition of one’s heart. If you want to see the good, you often see the positive aspects; if you have negative feelings toward something or someone, you often see things from a pessimistic vantage point.

In the Hebrew month of Tammuz, I believe we are challenged to see things from a fresh perspective and embrace God’s vision. 

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Vision and the Twelve Spies 

Perspective is paramount in our spiritual walk. Just look at the examples of the Twelve Spies (who left to spy out the land on the 17th of Tammuz and returned with their reports on the 8th of Av). You can read about their story in Numbers 13:23-33.

In summary:

  • Ten spies came back with a negative report filled with fear.
  • Two spies, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a positive report filled with opportunity saying: “…and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.”—Numbers 14:7

All twelve men went on the same journey and saw the same thing with their physical eyes, but their interpretations and understandings were completely different.

Ten men saw giants who devoured one another and ignored the good of the land that flowed with milk and honey–disregarding the gift of Hashem (“the name” in Hebrew, a title used for God). 

Two men saw the abundant harvest, recognized the richness of the opportunity, and trusted God was “well able” to lead them to victory. 

A Seer Has Great Power Over What He See

According to Jewish scholars, when the spies saw “a land that devours its inhabitants,” they saw the occupants turning on each other. This created a distraction and an opportunity for the land to be taken (Mark 3:25).

Instead of seeing this diversion as a tool in God’s hand, ten spies sinned with their sight and brought back a bad report of fear. Ultimately, this report was linked to a heart condition that lacked trust in God.

The Hebrew month of Tammuz represents sight and is followed by the Hebrew month of Av, representing hearing. When the children of Israel heard the bad report, they sinned by receiving and accepting it. 

Again, this sin was ultimately rooted in a heart condition and a wrong belief system.

What you see, hear, and ultimately believe is filtered through the state of your heart. In the Hebrew month of Tammuz, these actions are often called into account.

What do you see?

Sight and the Serpent–The Entry Point

  • Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”—Numbers 21:8
  • “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up…”—John 3:14 

The Mishnah (a collection of Jewish oral traditions) teaches that it’s not just about what they perceive through sight but rather the ascension of their thoughts moving from what was seen in the natural realm toward God the Father. 

Our vision and perspective can:

  • Lead us and others to fall into sin.
  • Lead us to elevate our thoughts and align our mindset to embrace “the mind of Christ.”

Regardless of the choice we make, sight becomes an entry point.

In the Hebrew month of Tammuz, we must guard the entry point where we place our gaze and, subsequently, our thoughts. 

Tammuz and the Tribe of Reuben–“See, a Son”

  • “Le’ah conceived and gave birth to a son, whom she named Re’uven [see, a son!]…”—Genesis 39:22 (emphasis added, CJB)

Firstborn Rights: As the firstborn, Reuben initially held the privileges of leadership and a double portion blessing of inheritance. But he lost these rights after sleeping with his father’s concubine (Genesis 35:22; 1 Chronicles 5:1).

Repentance: Jewish scholars suggest that Reuben was gone when Joseph was sold into slavery because he was making penance for his sin (Genesis 37:29). This would make Reuben the firstborn of repentance. However, even if he did make teshuvah (repentance), the consequence of his decision remained intact as Jacob chose family leadership.

We are reminded through Reuban’s story that forgiveness and consequence are not mutually exclusive.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—He went up to my couch.”—Genesis 49:3,4 

  • Unstable as waters: Reuben’s impulsiveness and instability disqualified him from leadership. In the Hebrew month of Tammuz, we must ensure our actions remain in alignment with our true identities and the life we desire to build. 

Tammuz and the Hebrew Letter Chet

The Hebrew letter chet is associated with the Hebrew month of Tammuz and represents:

  • Life and righteous living as words like chaim (life) and chayah (living) begin with this letter.
  • Chet has a numerical value of 8, which symbolizes new beginnings, spiritual elevation, or double doors. 
  • The light of divine wisdom is beyond comprehension, thus representing Hashem (“the name” in Hebrew, a title used for God), who is the pinnacle of wisdom.

Chet can be seen as the Hebrew letters vav and zayin connected by a bridge representing the connection between the physical and spiritual realms. This signifies that we can expect a convergence during the Hebrew month of Tammuz.

On the other hand, the letter chet also has some negative connotations. It is one of two letters that does not appear amongst the names of the 12 tribes. It alludes to sin and shortfall, but the purification from sin leads to redemption, relationship, and the conception of new life.

Both the Hebrew letter chet and the tribe of Reuben carry potential and challenge. Ultimately, the opportunity for the days ahead lies in our choices.

  • What do we see?
  • How do we respond? 
  • Do we remain stable? 
  • Do we turn and repent?
  • Do we embrace new beginnings and take the Promised Land God has given us? 

“For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.”—Romans 3:3-4

Repentance. Strict Justice. Historical Significance of Tammuz and Av. 

There are a few important things to remember when looking at the month of Tammuz.

  • The Hebrew month of Tammuz is considered one of the 3 months of strict judgment (Tammuz, Av, and Tevet), according to Jewish tradition. In essence, this is a period of divine justice where humans remain accountable and judgment is rendered. That being said, God’s judgment is balanced with chesed (God’s mercy). 
  • The Hebrew month of Tammuz is considered an exacting month–demanding, challenging, rigorous, strict, and requiring accuracy. 
  • On the afternoon of the 16th of Tammuz, the children of Israel sinned against God and built the golden calf, which resulted in tremendous consequences. Like the sin of the spies, this grievance was rooted in hearts not trusting God.  

Moses went to the Lord to atone for their sin, and God said:

  • “Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.”—Exodus 32:34

Therefore, Jewish sages say all punishment that comes upon Israel is in some way retribution for the sin of the golden calf.

On the 17th of Tammuz:  

  • The spies departed and brought back their report on the 8th of Av. 
  • The tablets were broken after Moses was enraged that the children of Israel built a golden calf.
  • The city wall of Jerusaelm was breached before the second Temple’s destruction.

Thus, the 17th of Tammuz begins a three-week period of mourning leading up to the 9th of Av. This period is also called “the Dire Straits.”

On the 9th of Av, or “Tisha B’Av,”  Israel experienced multiple tragedies, including the destruction of both the first and second Temples. (We will look more into this in next month’s blog about the Hebrew month of Av.) 

During the Hebrew month of Tammuz, we must walk in true repentance and seek His face in the days leading up to the judgment that is so often evident during this season. 

There Is Hope! From Mourning to Jubilation 

Zechariah prophesied about this period when he said:

  • “‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’”—Zechariah 8:19 

When hearts return to God the Father in repentance, what was once a period of mourning will turn to joy!

In the Hebrew month of Tammuz, we face a thesis and antithesis–something and its opposite. We are faced with opportunity and choice.

A month marked with historical sin and misfortune can be transformed by repentance and purity if we are awake, aware, diligent, remain true to our identities, and open our eyes of faith and see situations from a heavenly perspective. We may not see it this year, but I believe we will see it in the years to come when the words of Zechariah are made manifest. 

  • “…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”—2 Chronicles 7:14

The Weight of the Hebrew Month of Tammuz

Somber woman with heaviness evident on her face, fervently prays to Yeshua with her hands folded.

So far, in our study of the Hebrew months, Tammuz seems to carry a weight that we haven’t quite seen before. It is clearly a sober period, a period of examination during which we check our heart condition.

So, what do we take away from this understanding? How can we align our spiritual and physical lives to encounter the Father’s heart in the midst?

I would encourage you with this:

  • Remember the deliverance of Passover. Refuse to return to the mindset of a slave.
  • Remember the instruction of Shavuot.  Refuse to live in any way that is outside of your true identity and purpose; make decisions based on who and Whose you are and the life you desire to build. 
  • Allow the deliverance and instruction to seed your heart and carry you through the summer months toward the new beginnings of the Fall Feasts. 
  • Do not allow the challenges that present themselves while we wait on the Lord to shipwreck your faith
  • Know your responsibilities: your heart condition, mindset, and perspective on what you see this month and in the coming months. 

Remember, the children of Israel built the golden calf because they grew impatient for Moses to return from Mt. Sinai.

Don’t allow fear and impatience to redirect you. Stay in alignment and in step with the deliverance and instruction you received. Stay on the path! 

May you be wrapped in shalom and chesed, God’s peace and mercy, in times of judgment and justice as you wait on the covenant promises of God.