Av is the eleventh month of the Hebrew year (or the fifth month when counting from Nissan). Like all Hebrew months, the name Av is of Babylonian origin, corresponding to the constellation of the Lion (Leo), visible in the night sky during this lunar month. Av usually overlaps the solar months of July and August.
The month of Av is first mentioned in the Bible:
“Aharon the Kohen ascended Mount Hor at the command of Hashem and died there, in the fortieth year after the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month.” (Numbers 33:38)
Simeon is characterized as having an aggressive strength. While his father curses the aggression and anger that accompanied the strength, having physical strength as well as strength of character are admirable qualities. Sometimes having strength means knowing when to use restraint.
Because Yoseph was such a great person, his father Jacob blessed him with two tribes under the leadership of his two sons Ephraim and Menashe (Manasseh).
Av’s stone in the High Priest’s breastplate is the Pitdat (Chrysolite)
“דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם שַׁבָּתוֹן זִכְרוֹן תְּרוּעָה מִקְרָא־קֹדֶשׁ”
Koh-amar adonai tzeva’ot, tzom harevi’i vetzom hachamishi vetzom hashevi’i vetzom ha’asiri yihyeh leveit-yehudah lesason ulesimchah, ulemo’adim, tovim; veha’emet vehashalom, ehavu.
The fast of the fourth month, the fifth month, the seventh month, and the tenth month shall become occasions for joy and gladness, happy festivals for the House of Judah.
Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of Av, commemorates the destruction of the first (587 BCE) and second (70 CE) Temples in Jerusalem, the exile of the Jews from the Land of Israel and Jewish tragedies and suffering throughout the ages. The Scroll of Lamentations, describing the horrors that accompanied the destruction of the first Temple, is read publicly at the beginning of the fast. Because fasting on Shabbat is prohibited (with the exception of Yom Kippur) when this fast falls on a Saturday it is postponed to Sunday.
Tu B’Av, the 15th day of Av, is considered one of the happiest days on the Jewish calendar, for on this day, many happy events contributing to the unity of the Jewish people took place. In ancient times, this day was celebrated in a unique way. The unmarried women of Jerusalem would dress in white and dance in the vineyards, where they would meet unmarried men and seek their soulmates. In modern times, the 15 Av is considered an auspicious day for weddings.
Notable Dates in the Month of Cheshvan
The death of Aharon, the high priest (see the verse above).