|"Issachar" by Lynette Joel|
Issachar has been associated with Torah scholars, “Talmudim Chochamim” and those whose lives revolve around and draw their sustenance from the study of Torah. There are some (myself included with such great company as Rashbam and Ibn Ezra) which see Issachar as the archetypical Taurus personality – solid, thoughtful, earthy, loving the soil and the land, hard-working, steadfast (stubborn, certainly “fixed” as his sign indicates), a lover of beauty and order (ruled by Venus (“Noga”) and concerned with the sensual (Earth) delights and rewards of a well-lived life. This too, may be “Torah”.
In David S. Zimburg’s “Re-Imagining Issachar”, the author writes:
With this foundational understanding, we can see the beautiful function of Issachar and Chodesh Iyar in the cycle of sacred time which is the Jewish Year. Iyar’s “incepted” position allows it to gather, refine, establish and lay a foundation for the Spring-like rush of spontaneous growth, newness and rebirth that characterizes the Month of Nissan which precedes it. The Rashbam and Ibn Ezra’s Issachar as the powerful, physical, earthy and wholesome “farmer”, sowing his land corresponds to the classical description of Taurus, the bull, who derives great joy from his physicality and the work that a healthy, well-developed and balanced body might do with the land he is given, bringing forth abundance and “shefah” to share with his brethren.
Of course it’s widely known that Torah study is compared to a field in which the laborer toils and brings forth abundant fruit as well. Not that one need be exclusive of the other, and in a way, it’s the balance between the mental and the physical where Taurus and Issachar reaches his perfection. A Talmud Chocham was never meant to be a pale, sickly, emaciated scholar, bent over an open book for 70 years, his frame distorted and bent from study, his limbs wasted from ignoring exercise in favor of “learning”. A true Torah scholar must find his balance and his physical strength by connection to the Land, and sow not only in the field of Torah but in the literal field itself, by his very labor. True vitality, true health, true beauty lies in the art of bringing heaven to earth, and earth to heaven – and Chodesh Iyar, which begins on Chessed Sh’b’Tiferet (Generosity/Kindness in Beauty/Balance – the “Venus” manifestation in Taurus) and ends on Gevurah Sh’b’Malcut (Strength of Manifestation – “Establishing Manifestation” function of Taurus, the “Fixed Earth” Sign ) opens the energetic doorway to be able to access the strength, wisdom and endurance to be able to access this potentiality and fulfill it.