Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The Hebrew name of the month of Iyar is Ziv which means “ray.” Thus, the complete shining forth of this month reflects a perfect revelation.

This perfect revelation in turn will permeate all aspects of the month, even the mundane matters associated with it. And thus, when describing anything that occurred in this month, we say that it took place in the month of Ziv, a month of revelation.


This revelation will enable every Jew to fulfill the purpose for his creation, the service of G-d, as it is written, “I was created to serve My Creator” – and this will fulfill the purpose of the creation of the world at large. Furthermore, this will be fulfilled in a manner reflected by the statements of the Zohar, “And the wise shall shine forth as the brilliance of the heavens.”


A Special Mitzvah for Every Day of Iyar

For seven weeks, from the second day of Passover to Shavuot, the Jewish people count the Omer, marking the passage of 49 days between these two holidays. Each day, we recite another blessing, as the counting of each day is itself a mitzvah.

Sefirat HaOmer (counting the Omer) extends from 16 Nisan through all of Iyar until Shavuot on 6 Sivan. Thus, Iyar is the only month in which the Omer is counted for all its 29 days.


Iyar Is a Month of Healing

Iyar is a month of healing. The Chassidic masters see this in the month’s acronym, “Ani Hashem Rofecha” – “I am G-d who heals you.”

The Jewish year is a miniature playbook of the entirety of a Jew’s divine service. Nisan, the first month, is all about birth and renewal. We just “went out of Egypt” in a spiritual sense and are now ready to fulfill G-d’s commandments with feeling.

Iyar represents the return to the mundane – going back to work after Yom Tov. At this point, it becomes difficult to infuse our Torah learning and mitzvah doing with warmth in a cold and mundane world.

This is where healing comes in. G-d says, “All the sicknesses . . . I will not place upon you, for I am G-d who heals you.” In other words, G-d is giving us preventative medicine – the ability to fight apathy and to experience our divine service with passion and excitement. But although G-d provides assistance, we must do the legwork. If we make the effort to view the world through the eyes of a child, with openness and curiosity, we can keep the forces of apathy away from us.

Beis (the second day of) Iyar is the birthday of Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, also known as the Rebbe Maharash. Rabbi Shmuel was born in the Russian town of Lubavitch in the year 1834.

After his father, Rabbi Menachem Mendel, the Tzemach Tzedek, passed away, the Rebbe Maharash, who was the youngest of his six brothers, became the Rebbe of Lubavitch.

Rabbi Shmuel was fluent in multiple languages and used this skill when he traveled throughout Russia to lobby for better treatment of the Jews there.

The Rebbe Maharash coined the concept of “Lechatchila Ariber.” He famously declared, “The world says if you can’t go under [a hurdle], go over; I say, from the beginning, go over!), which became axiomatic in Chabad – the idea of a holy mission that empowers a Jew to confront challenges with courage and a boldness of spirit so that these challenges don’t become obstacles on his path in the service of Hashem. The Rebbe spoke about this concept many, many times, explaining that the Jew is given divine powers to reach his goals in Torah and mitzvos, and nothing can stand in his way.


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Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman is director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. He can be reached at [email protected].