Members12 Tribes: Reuben and the Summer

Just as Tammuz conveys the problematic aspects of summer, the same can be said of Reuben and his fate

By Avshalom Kapach |
Reuben and summer
Summer is a dry and thirsty time in the Land of Israel. Photo: Maor Kinsbursky/Flash90

What links the biblical month of Tammuz and Reuben? Which dramatic events happened during the season of Tammuz? As the firstborn, he forfeited his benefits and disappointed the expectations of his father. In the summer, Reuben and Tammuz meet.

The month of Tammuz is the tenth month according to the Jewish calendar, which is aligned with the biblical chronology of the creation of the world; at the same time, it is the fourth month in regards to the Exodus from Egypt. It has 29 days and usually falls during the months of June and July. The name Tammuz comes from the Babylonian deity for spring fertility, and appears just once in the Bible, in Ezekiel 8:14: “Then he brought me to the entrance of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and behold, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.” In Aramaic, Tammuz means warmth or heat. Whereas the months of Iyar and Sivan stand for light, hope and joy, Tammuz, which follows them, symbolizes the difficult aspects of the start of the hot...

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