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What is Shoivavim?What is Shovavim Tat? what is its significance and how is it for lack of a better term celebrated?

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Sources Shaar HaKavanot Drushei HaLaila

Sha'ar Ruah Hakodesh Tikun 27 page 17c

There is an ancient minhag in all of Israel to fast forty days consecutively that are from the first day of Parashat Shemot until Parashat Teruma and a bit of Tetzaveh. They are given the siman שובו בנים return children Shovvavim which are the Roshei Teivot Shemot V'aera, Bo, Beshalah, Yitro, Mishpatim.Beshalah, Yitro, Mishpatim.

From Devarim Shebikedusha Chapter 4 in Hok L'Yisrael- in fact the musar section of Hok L'Yisrael for the entire six weeks typically deal with the Shovvavim):

The time of year when the Torah portions of Shemot through Mishpatim are read are believed to hold great power of repentanc3 and during this period the multitudes approach G-d to repent of the sin of their youth by which they have blemished the sign of the holy covenant.

There is also the Sefer Beniyahu BenYehoida which deals with the primary tikkunim of this period of time. There are varying minhagim of the Mekubalim during this time. Many Mekubalim fast day and night Shavua L'Shavua, while others will fast 2-3 days(day and night) each week, based on the Arizal's teaching that 2 days(day and night) are equal to 27days of fasting, and 3 days(day and night) are equal to forty days(see Sha'ar Ruah HaKodesh Tikkun 1 page 6b, introduction to Sefer Beniyahu BenYehoida and Evn HaShoham hilchot teshuva siman 1).

Also many of the Kabbalistic Yeshivot in Jerusalem host tikkunim on Mondays and Thursdays in which, following the teachings of the RaShaSh and the Ben Ish Hai(see Lashon Hakhamim) the various fasts can be redeemed through tzedaka for those who are unable to fast.

  • Can you please provide a link to the original text of R. Chaim Vital? Or quote the Hebrew? – Chaim Jan 15 '17 at 16:23
  • What is the earliest source of this "ancient minhag in all of Israel"? – Double AA Jan 18 '17 at 21:56
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שובבי"ם
with added option ( ת"ת )

is the initials of the parshas:

Shmos Vaeira Bo Beshalach Yisro Mishpatim (then optionally, Terumah Tetzaveh). So that makes it a period of 6 (or 8) weeks in the wintertime. It generally fills the a gap in the Jewish calendar post-Chanukah, pre-Purim. Of course the word "shovevim" means "wayward", as in "come back, wayward children!"

It's traditionally considered a time (especially in Hassidic communities) to focus on the observance of commandments related to marital intimacy.

In many communities across the gamut of Orthodoxy, refresher/review courses in taharat hamishpacha (family purity) are offered during this time.

I don't know what the oldest source for the backgrounds of "shovevim" are, but that's how it's done today.

In the Hassidic community of Satmar, it is a time for direct confrontation with one's baser desires, and sermons during this period will bring this up explicitly. There's the story of some fellows from the Skver Hassidic community (whose attitude is to focus on other things instead) going to Satmar during this period and hearing what was to them quite a shocking earful!

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    I think Hassidic is too specific Kabbalisticly inclined would be more right – SimchasTorah Dec 20 '10 at 3:26
  • And if anyone can trace the sources on it, we'd know more about its Kabbalistic roots too. – Shalom Dec 20 '10 at 4:04
  • By the way Kav Hayashar, and Yesod Veshorosh Havodah both talk about it. – SimchasTorah Dec 21 '10 at 0:38
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Regarding earliest source: Long before the Kav hayashar was born, the ShLo"H (R Yeshayah haLevi Horowitz circa 1560) wrote all about shovavim. You can find his rather simple and straightforward explanation of it and it's connection to Teshuva in his intro to the beginning of his exposition on parshat Shemot in the the sefer Shnei Luchos haBris, section called "Torah Sh'bichsav". Fabulous stuff.

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    You should give a summary of what is found there in order to answer the question. The OP may not have access to that sefer. – sabbahillel Jan 18 '17 at 22:52
  • Sh"loh explains that the lunar and solar calendars only became differing lengths as a result of sin. He relates that 'shrinking' of the moon to the hiding of the Ohr haGanuz for tzadikim in the future w/the sin of Adam&Chava who Zohar (and the RMBN in chumash) teaches enjoyed the light of the ohr haganuz for the entire Shabbos they were still in Gan eden...that's 12 hrs of enjoying that light Friday and 24hrs on that Shabbos which is 36hrs says the Bnei yisoschar and this is why there are 36 candles (not counting shamash) on Chanuka which is the holiday of the ohr haganuz, he explains. – Dov Goldstein Feb 17 '17 at 0:08
  • So the extra month called Adar 2 is put there every few years to equalize the lunar and solar calendars so that Pesach always comes out in the spring. And Adar 2 is always during the time of parshas Teruma and Tetzaveh - the 'tat' in 'Shovavim Tat'. This means, says ShL"oH, that the 'Tat' time of Shovavim (which is Adar 2) realigns lunar with solar. And that is tikkun of creation. Similarly, it is a time for Teshuvah and tikkun for all sin in general, which is all about realigning what IS (the broken - us) with what we were INTENDED to be. Time and Soul both are realigned at Shovavim time. – Dov Goldstein Feb 17 '17 at 0:15
  • You should put the extra comments into the answer. – sabbahillel Feb 17 '17 at 3:19

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