May seforim teach that the 12 months of the year correspond to the 12 shevatim [meaning: G-d reveals himself in certain paradigmatic ways in the context of time/space/people. There is a correspondence between the revelation of G-dliness brought about by the personalities of the 12 shevatim and the revelation of G-dliness which occurs through the yearly cycle of 12 months]. The Shem m’Shmuel teaches based on the Zohar that this relationship follows the birth order of the shevatim -- Nisan corresponds with Reuvain and Iyar corresponds with Shimon. The character of Reuvain is “re’iya”, sight, vision; in naming her son Leah referred to G-d seeing her plight. The month of Nisan is the month of the exodus from Egypt where we saw G-d’s presence revealed as never before in history. “Ra’asa shifcha al haYam…”, the maidservant saw G-d’s presence at the splitting of the Sea more clearly that the prophet Yechezkel. Seeing is believing; we attribute great certainty and confidence to what our eyes tell us. The process of seeing involves no effort other than to open ones eyes; similarly, the process of leaving Mitzrayim involved no effort from Bnei Yisrael other than to open their eyes to the deliverance being granted.
The month of Iyar corresponds to Shimon, the sheivet which characterizes the power of hearing. In naming Shimon Leah referred to G-d hearing of her plight, “ki shama Hashem…” We place far less confidence is hearsay than in what we witness with our own eyes. As David HaMelech tells us, “Shim’i bas ure’i v’hati ozneich…” (Tehillim 45:11) – hearing must be followed up with “hati ozeich”, a deliberate decision to attend to what was heard, to digest and assimilate what the ears absorbed. After the miracles of Egypt concluded, Bnei Yisrael were left with the task of assimilating what had occurred into their lives and consciousness. This is the avodah of sefirah and the month of Iyar. The Shem m’Shmuel forcefully writes that Hashem does not perform miracles to that we should be habituated to living in a world of supernatural, where every challenge is met by a burst of Divine deliverance and we stand by as idle witnesses, participating only through re’iya. Rather, Hashem does miracles so that we glean the inspiration to use our own efforts achieve the transcendent heights which the miraculous proved possible, participating as active agents, “hati ozneiach”. More to come bl”n.