1. Though it is not on the same spiritual level as Shabbos or a festival, Rosh Chodesh contains certain elements that are comparable to the festivals. It is distinguished from other days since, as its name implies, it serves as a head for the entire month to come.

In particular, Rosh Chodesh Menachem-Av is associated with the greatest descent, the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. Within it, however, is also the potential for the highest ascent which will be realized in the Messianic Age, when the fast days will be transformed into days of joy and celebration. Since the descent commemorated on Tishah BeAv is greater than that of any of the other fast days, it is self-understood that, ultimately, the ascent associated with it will also surpass that of the other fasts.

This is brought out by the Midrash which states: A lion [Nebuchadnezzar] arose in [the month whose] sign is a lion [Av] and destroyed Arial [“the lion of G‑d,” the Beis HaMikdash] so that a lion [G‑d] will come in [the month whose] sign is a lion and build Arial.

This statement emphasizes that the ultimate goal of the catastrophes of this month is the construction of the Beis HaMikdash.

We also see the concept of the heights to be reached in the month of Av revealed in our Sages’ statement, “There were never greater festivals for Israel than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur.” The Talmud explains that the significance of the 15th of Av is that, on that day, the Jews realized that the decree that the people would die in the desert had already run its course.1

The fifteenth of Av is marked by a full moon. This is connected with Rosh Chodesh when the moon begins to shine. The fact that the Jews follow a lunar calendar implies that their spiritual service parallels the phases of the moon. This begins with giving oneself over completely, mesirus nefesh, which parallels the moon as it is hidden. From this point, one begins to reveal light within the realm of one’s revealed powers until one reaches the level of “the great light,” the light of the sun. This is the pattern of the natural order. A Jew stands above nature and therefore, can reach even higher peaks.

Since Rosh Chodesh contains all the elements of the month to come, it is an appropriate time to take on resolutions regarding our behavior in the coming days. In particular, Rosh Chodesh Av is distinguished as the yahrzeit of Aharon, the priest.2 This teaches that we must “be of the students of Aharon” increasing our ahavas Yisrael, our love for our fellow Jews. Also, it is appropriate to make siyumim during the Nine Days, increase our study of the laws of the construction of the Beis HaMikdash, and add to our gifts to tzedakah.

May these activities hasten the coming of the ultimate redemption which is alluded to in the name of the month, Menachem-Av. Av refers to G‑d, our father. Menachem refers to Mashiach whose name will be Menachem.3 May he come now immediately.