Dear Readers,

We are now in the month of Av, approaching Tisha B’Av, the day when both Holy Temples were set aflame, we were dispersed to exile, and G‑d’s presence was no longer openly manifest. This is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.

Here are three thoughts that I will focus on during this month of Av, and in particular, on the fast of Tisha B’Av.

Just as anxiety is meant to agitate us into action, darkness, too, must be used as a springboard to acquire greater fortitude, faith and growth. Difficult circumstances highlight the hidden potency of our inner souls and bring out their greatness.

The month of Av is the darkest month on our calendar—a time of fasting, mourning and depriving ourselves of pleasurable activities. And, yet, we are also told that this is the month that Moshiach will be born, meaning the harshest month contains the seeds for the greatest, most beautiful and enduring redemption.

This month is called Av, which means “Father,” because only a father can look you in the eye with a tenderness that says you are straying, and that it’s time to return. Only a parent can punish without alienating—his love hidden, but still apparent.

Even while we are in exile, the Shechinah (the Divine presence) is there with us, accompanying us, holding our hands through our suffering, wiping our tears and awaiting a better time for us. The Kabbalists describe the Shechinah’s cries as a mother who mourns being separated from her child.

Remembering that the pain of destruction is part of declaring our certainty, faith and resilience in there being a better future, and motivating us towards making that a reality. After we grieve, we need to move forward from our pain and sorrow into deed and action, doing whatever we can to create a better tomorrow.

Although any time is opportune, this is an especially great month for doing random acts of kindness and bringing more love into the world. The Temple was destroyed because of wanton hate; we can rebuild our world with unconditional love and random acts of kindness.

Wishing you an easy and meaningful fast, and wishing that this Tisha B’Av be transformed into a day of celebration!

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW