Moon of Endings and Beginnings (July/August)
Av is a month for us to tear down our walls, both physical and emotional, challenge what we believe we need to thrive, and get ready to do the work of beginning again.
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- Linear Month: 11
- Torah Month: 5
- Season: Summer
- Holidays: Tisha B’Av, Tu B’Av
- Offerings1: Grapes & Grape Leaves
- Element2: Mayim (מים) Water within Eish (אשׁ) Fire
- Spiritual Focus3: Creativity through Divine Connection
- Netivah: Chachamah (חָכמָה) Wise Woman
- Constellation: Aryeh (אריה) Leo/Lion
- Letter: Tet – ט
- Tribe: Simeon
- Sense: Hearing
- Tarot Card4: Strength
- Soul Trait5: Ometz Lev (אמץ לב) Courage
Note: Letter, Tribe, and Sense are derived from the Sefer Yetzirah
See NOTES for additional information on sources of these all correspondences.
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Av is one of the most challenging months on the Jewish calendar. Either, because you are truly mourning the destruction of the Temple — or because you just can’t relate to this. In the past I’ve proposed a third way, one that reflects on what was lost (the Temple) and rejoices in what was found (modern Judaism via the Diaspora). Av is the month to deal with all the bad and good that has made us who we are as a people and that is not always fun.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, מַתִּיר אֲסוּרִים
Blessed are you, Holy One who forms the world, freeing the bound.
Key Dates in Tevet
|1st||Rosh Chodesh Av|
Yartzheit of Aharon haKohen
|6th||Shabbat Hazon: Shabbat of Prophecy|
Shabbat of Vision before Tisha B’Av
|7th||Tisha B’Av: Fast day which commemorates many tragedies which all occured on this date throughout history, including the destruction of the first (586 BCE) and second (70 CE) Temples. This date is also the date for the expulsion from Spain in 1492 and the day the first Jews were sent to Treblinka from the Warsaw Ghetto (July 23, 1943)|
Final day of 3 week Bein ha-Bezarim period (“between the straights”) which began on 17th of Tammuz
|13th||Shabbat Nachmanu, the Shabbat of Consolation|
Tu B’Av: The Maidens’ holiday! Eligible young girls all wore borrowed white garmets (so poorer girls would not feel ashamed) and danced in the vineyards harvesting grapes. Eligible young men would meet the girls in the vineyards and marriages would be made.
Shabbat Nachmanu: Shabbat of Consolation on the Shabbat after Tu B’Av
Shabbat Torah/Haftarah Readings
Note some months the parshiot fluctuate and in others it is always consistent.
These readings were selected by Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa’agelet to pair with the weekly Torah portions.
- Genesis 25:22-25:23
We read Genesis 25:22-25:23 to learn from Rebekah’s direct seeking of Divine wisdom. What she learned changed the course of history, but would you do what she did? What can we learn from Rebekah’s story?
- Ruth 1:1 – 1:16
We read the beginning of the book of Ruth, because here we have three visions of the Doreshet path of Shekhinah: Naomi, Ruth and Orpah. All three are seeking what they need and choose paths that others might not.
1: Offerings & symbols were developed by Kohenet Ketzirah haMa’agelet for use as physical offering practices or in artwork.
The interpretations of the Sephirot are also from Rabbi Jill’s teachings. Specifically, they are from her Omer Calendar of Bibilical Women.
3: The spiritual focus is my own concept of sustainable spiritual practice. It is based on my interpretation of the wheel of the year and the Jewish holidays, as taught by many. The specific focus is for a season, as based on the element have/need system taught by R’Jill Hammer in the The Jewish Book of Days, as referenced above. For example Autumn is the time of Air within Earth, we have Earth we need Air and is the spiritual focus of Community (Air) within Resources (Earth) or more simply: communal resources.
4: While tarot is not intrinsically Jewish, it is a derivative of Kabbalah and a can be a useful tool for self discovery and exploration. Tarot correspondences here follow Kabbalistic tree of life by Issac ben Luria, the Ari, as opposed to some of the more common Christian systems.
5: The soul-traits for each month are based on Kesharim K’doshim Mussar, developed by Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa’agelet.