Av is the 5th month of the year counting from the month of Nissan, the name means ‘Father’. During this month the Jewish people, G/d and Torah become ONE. It is during this month that the destruction of the two temples happened, and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain also took place during this month. The month conjures up a mixture of conflicting moods and the Mishna says: “As AV enters, we diminish joy”. During Av one sees the true love of a Father (G/d) and his unconditional love for his children in spite of his children not following his commandments.
The final Nine Days of Tisha B’AV and the Three Weeks are a time of intensified mourning. There are times when we’re told to be sad and this period is one of several during the year because without these times of sorrow and consolation, our joy would flow falsely and from sorrow, joy will permeate.
The Tribe of the month is Shimon, from the word Shema which attributes to hear, in the previous month of Tammuz Reuben sees. Hearing vs seeing, if you truly want to become ONE with G/d, one has to listen. Listening is greater than Seeing G/d. The limb of the month is the left kidney, signifying emotion.
The permutation of the month of Av: (ה.ו.י.ה) appears in the word הוֹיָ֗ה describes in Exodus 9:3 the plague of pestilence.
The letters begin reversed (ה.ו) but end in order (י.ה). This indicates that while the judgment over the first half of the month is harsh and strict, the month concludes with Divine mercy. In fact, the letters ‘yud’ and ‘heh’ are not only “in order” and connote mercy; their numerical equivalent is 15. This reveals that the second half of G-d’s name for this month literally correlates to the last 15 days of Av and corresponds to the teaching of the Talmud which states (Ta’anit 26b), “There are no greater days for the People of Israel like the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur”. The 15 of AV is known as one of the happiest days in Jewish history, Tu B’Av, signifies rebirth after destruction and is a day for new beginnings. The Talmud considers it the greatest festival of the year, followed by Yom Kippur, as its essence represents the future redemption.
The letter of the month is Tet, which appears first in the Torah on the word “Tov” (Good) mentioned during the creation G/d says: “it was good”. Tet has a numerical value of 9 for Tisha B’Av which is a day of mourning.
Where do we get the Tov? From the first two letters of Tov; Tet-Vav have a value of 15. The 15th of Av (as stated above) is a day of rejoicing. This demonstrates that one has the ability to transform, rebuild and arise from ashes.
An old Chassidic proverb goes, “Sadness is not a sin, but its effect on the person is worse than any sins.” The soul was sent to this world not to be, but to do; not to merely exist, but to achieve. To retreat into the self is to reverse the flow of life. Joy is revelation.
Teresa Quiroz – On behalf of Women of Holy Blossom
Rosh Chodesh Av: Shacharit Service, Wednesday, July 19, 7:30 am ET, in-person or via Zoom at https://zoom.us/j/93902401402?pwd=dGlOR2dEcGs1RVc0OVFwdkFtOVo5UT09
For more dates and the connection to women see https://holyblossom.org/rosh-chodesh/