Contact Us
Let's Go For Coffee

When Light and Darkness Collide

When Light and Darkness Collide

 Email

Dear Readers,

This week we usher in the Jewish month of Av, the saddest and darkest month on our calendar. On the ninth day of this month, we commemorate the destruction of both the First and Second Temples, as well as many other tragedies.

In our lives, we all have light-filled days when we feel at peace with our inner selves and aligned with our mission in this world. But more often than not, we have dark and sad days when we seem out of sync. These are the times in our lives that are painful and full of unused potential, when we feel disconnected from our spiritual selves and our Maker.

Yet, often it is precisely in the blackness and difficulties of our lives that our fortitude, faith and strength as human beings emerge. Those circumstances highlight the hidden potency of our inner souls and bring out their greatness.

Just as anxiety is meant to agitate us into action, darkness, too, must be used as a springboard for further growth and to acquire a deeper sensitivity. There is a Chassidic saying that nothing is as whole as a broken heart—as long as our grief is constructive, such turmoil brings us to action.

And that’s why the name of this dark month is so appropriate. Av means “father” in Hebrew. Other months seem to have more significant name associations: Nissan, the month of nissim (“miracles”); the High Holidays are in Tishrei, new beginnings. What relevance does fatherhood have to this sad month, when some of the most painful events in our history occurred?

Av is the month when we hit our lowest point as a nation, when we can easily feel deserted and alone. And perhaps that is precisely why this month needs to be called “Father.”

Only a father can you look you in the eye with a tenderness that says you are straying, and that it’s time to return. Only a parent can guide you to a better direction with an unquestionable firmness that still holds warmth and sensitivity. Only a parent can punish without alienating—his love hidden, but still apparent.

It is customary to add to this month the name “Menachem,” which means “comforter” or “consoler,” so that it becomes “Menachem Av”: the “comforting Father.”

As we begin this month of Menachem Av, may each of us finally feel our Creator’s loving, everlasting embrace.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW


Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
3 Comments
1000 characters remaining
Esther Mandella Destin July 25, 2017

Inspiration I love that comforting is attached to Av. It brings us hope! Thank you Chana for the inspiration! Reply

S United Kingdom July 25, 2017

Menachem em. This woman's section compliments the sad month of Av. Often, tenderness expressed in words, as above, truly comforts the hearts, minds and souls of all who are in exile. Thank you, for this lovely article. Reply

Tim Hamoen Drachten Holland July 25, 2017

Tears are coming out of my eyes. Thank you for pointing out the love of our heavenly Father. Reply

Often we need a break from our daily routine. A pause from life to help us appreciate life.

A little pat on the back to let us know when we're on track. A word of encouragement to help us through those bleak moments and difficult days.

Sometimes, we just yearn for some friendship and camaraderie, someone to share our heart with. And sometimes we need a little direction from someone who's been there.

So, take a short pause from the busyness of your day and join Chana Weisberg for a cup of coffee.

Chana Weisberg is the author of Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman and four other books. Weisberg is a noted educator and columnist and lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul.
Recent Posts
Blog Archive