In the Third Month [when the Children of Israel
left Egypt and arrived at Sinai to receive the Torah] a supernal
and recondite light shines forth… and that light is
contained in two lights, which are one. The first light [Chesed]
is white, too bright for the eye to behold. The second light
[Gevurah] is one which gleams and sparkles in red. The two
are united and become one... Because it is contained in two
lights, it is called the “Twins” (Ti’umim).
Therefore, in the month in which the Torah was given (Sivan),
the constellation of the “Twins” (Gemini) rules,
and from them issue lights of various grades below to illumine
Among all the other signs of the Zodiac there
is not one possessing mouth or tongue, but this one has both,
and the two are one. Therefore it is written in regard to
the Torah: “And thou shalt meditate therein day and
night” (Joshua 1:8), “day” corresponding
to the tongue, and “night” corresponding to the
mouth. And both these are one.
Therefore the word ti’umim (twins), ‘there
were twins [Jacob and Esau] in her womb” (Genesis 25:24),
is written t’umim [without the letter alef], in order
to indicate that Jacob alone is under the sign of this constellation.
This is all one mystery. Jacob had two months, Nissan and
Iyar, and is included in the mystery of Sivan, Twins. Esau’s
months are Tammuz and Av [when the Holy Temple was destroyed
by the descendants of Esau], but Elul is not his, and even
in Av only nine days are his not more. He separated himself
and turned toward impurity, in chaos and desolation, and he
is not included in the Twins.
And because Jacob is the Twins the Torah was
given to his children in the month of the Twins. The Torah
itself is a “twin”, the written and oral Torah;
it was given in the third month (Sivan), symbolizing the treble
Torah, Law, Prophets, Writings. And it is all one
– Zohar II 78b
A cryptic Zohar indeed. Jacob is Esau’s twin. Jacob
cannot be considered a twin without Esau. How then can the
Zohar tell us that Esau is not included in the ‘twins’
The twin brothers Esau and Jacob represent dual forces in
our lives. In microcosm and macrocosm – both in our
psyches and the larger universe – two conflicting forces
drive us at all times. In general terms: the battle –
and tension – between matter and spirit is an inherent
part of every aspect of existence. This dichotomy manifests
itself in so many ways: The conflict between career and home,
between our personal higher standards and the pressure to
conform to marketplace standards. The battle between our yearning
for transcendence and the need for material survival, between
existential loneliness and the sense of connection to a greater
whole – the war between the outer and the inner, form
and function, packaging and substance – between the
pull from above and the tug from below. The list goes on.
Many philosophies and schools of thought have been espoused
about this battling duality and ways to remedy or at least
minimize the inherent tension between matter and spirit.
The Torah was given in the month of the ‘twins’
(Gemini) to teach us that these two forces are truly two sides
of one coin – a set of twins that can either be at each
other’s throat or unite into a synergetic force. “The
entire Torah was given in order to create peace in the world”
(Maimonides end of Laws of Chanukah).
In the Midrash ‘twins’ refers to the human experience of
light and dark (Pesikta Rabsi 20). Or to the human duality
of two forces, the good and evil inclination, that comes with
process of maturity (Tanchuma Haazinu).
The giving of the Torah is all about creating unity in a
world of duality – not by annihilating the duality,
but by transforming it into ‘twins,’ two that
are really one.
Esau is the warrior. On his own he can go either way: Either
he can be an aggressive force representing material belligerence.
Or he can channel his warrior nature to conquer the elements
of the world and transform the material universe into a Divine
home. Because in this mundane world we need intense strength
to stand up to the challenges of life and not conform; we
need a forceful attitude to “be fruitful and multiply
and fill the world and conquer it.” (see the article
Esau’s Two Faces).
Jacob (the soul) is the one that directs and channels the
aggressive Esau (the body) into a healthy partner and ‘twin’
that joins forces with the soul to transform the universe.
The Zohar, therefore, tells us that when Esau ‘separated
himself’ and indulged in material conquest, he essentially
disqualified himself from being a part of the ‘twins’
as a unit in Rebecca’s womb. Technically, he remains
Jacob’s twin, but conceptually he has allowed the apparent
duality of the universe to control his life, hence, no true
twins, only two separate forces at war with each other.
In truth, Sivan, the month of Twins, is actually the Third
month, which corresponds to the third emotional sphere of
Tiferet. Tiferet – beauty – creates harmony within
diversity. Chesed (love) reigns in month one (Nissan), when
the Divine revelation from above freed the people from constraints
(Mitzrayim). Gevurah (diversity, discipline) is the energy
of month two (Iyar), when our human initiative from below
works on refining our 49 (7x7) emotions as we count the days
of the Omer leading up to month three (Sivan), tiferet, which
integrates chesed and gevurah, into one greater harmony.
Mattan Torah (the giving of the Torah) – which is called
tiferet – united heaven and earth. As the Midrash explains
that up to that point in history there was a schism that divided
the ‘upper’ from the ‘lower;’ at Sinai
we were given the power to marry the ‘upper’ and
the ‘lower,’ spirit and matter. And the way we
achieve this is through spiritualizing the material –
fusing them both into a ‘twin-like’ relationship.
It takes the special energy of the third dimension (tiferet)
that transcends both body and soul, to ultimately integrate
the two into one whole, without annihilating or compromising
either one of them.
These twin forces have been consumed in raging battle from
the beginning of time. Beginning in Rebecca’s womb “two
nations” have been struggling, and “two governments will
separate from inside you. The upper hand will go from one
to the other” (Genesis 25:23).
As history unfolded these two forces – which began
as two individuals in Esau and Jacob – magnified and
multiplied into global confrontations. Before Sinai (the children
of) Esau is offered the Torah, but he rejects it; he has separated
himself and is not yet ready to be a true ‘twin.’
(see article Esau,
Ishmael and Sinai)
As the centuries rolled on, Esau’s children (the Romans)
would destroy the Temple, and years later they would begin
to embrace in their own way some of the Torah’s message.
Two millennia later much has transpired. The world of Esau
has evolved and continues to refine itself, aligning itself
more and more with the teachings that the original Esau learned
from his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham.
The universe as well has evolved to a point where matter
and spirit have become interchangeable (e=MC2),
and they continue to evolve to the point where we can now
see that they soon may be synonymous, or better put –
‘twins.’ In physics, technology, communications,
medicine, we are witnessing the convergence of a duality that
has always been the staple of the universe.
Yes, the twins Esau and Jacob are about to finally meet and
join hands. Thousands of years ago Jacob told Esau (even after
they reconciled) “that the children are weak and I have
responsibility for the nursing sheep and cattle. If they are
driven hard for even one day, they will die…Please go
ahead of me… I will lead my group slowly, following
the pace of the work ahead of me, and the pace of the children.
I will eventually come to you, my lord, in Seir [Edom]”
The time had not yet come for the ‘twins’ to
unite. “And when will he [Jacob] go [to Seir]? In the
days of Moshiach, as it says (Ovadiah 1:21) Redeemers will
ascend Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau, and the kingdom
will be G-d’s” (Rashi ad loc). After over three
millennia they are finally
ready to unite.
The stage is set for the ‘twins’ to emerge – in science,
medicine and politics. The final frontier is personal and
psychological: to allow the ‘twins’ to emerge in our psyches.
We now have the power to finally bring some peace to our
fragmented (if not tortured) spirits, and by extension, to
our ailing world.
Two twins have been wandering for so long, isn’t it
time to finally come home?