Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov tells us in Likutey Moharan (Lesson #217): “The initial letters of the phrase ‘Remember the Torah of Moshe (Zichru Toras Moshe)’ (Malachi 3:22) spell out the word TaMuZ when it is written without the vav.

This alludes to the fact that in the month of Tamuz it is necessary to elicit mindfulness in order to rectify the forgetfulness that came into being as a result of the Shattering of the Luchos (Tablets), which occurred in this month.

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As our Sages, of blessed memory, said: “Had the first Tablets not been shattered, the Torah would not have been forgotten by the Jews (Eruvin 54a).”

This is a very deep concept. What does it mean to combat forgetfulness? And specifically what type of forgetfulness are we referring to? After all, Rebbe Nachman teaches elsewhere: “Most people think of forgetfulness as a defect. I consider it a great benefit. Being able to forget frees you from the burdens of the past.”

The answer is that the nature of this physical world, with all of its temptations and vanities, will often seduce a person into “forgetting” their true purpose. Because the nature of this world is so likely to put us to sleep in the spiritual sense, we need to remind ourselves constantly about what’s truly important in order not to lose our focus.

It is for this reason that Rebbe Nachman advises us (Likutey Moharan #54) to recall the World to Come upon awakening from sleep every day. I have heard this cleverly referred to as “remembering the future.” As soon as we wake up in the morning, before this world and all of its distractions cause us to lose our focus, we should remind ourselves of our true purpose which is to live G-dly lives centered around Torah and mitzvos.

The upcoming month of Tamuz is an especially opportune time to work on this quality of “not forgetting” what truly matters. May Hashem help us to always “remember the future.”

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Rabbi Nosson Rossman is a rabbinic field representative for the Orthodox Union. He can be reached at nathanlrossman@gmail.com.