Rosh Chodesh Av/ New Moon of Av (AKA Menachem Av) begins this Thursday night, August 1st! It's a pretty wild month as it contains the saddest day on the Jewish calendar (Tisha b'Av) as well as one of the happiest days on the Jewish Calendar (Tu b'Av ). The first half of the month challenges us to dive into our sadness and grief, one of the most intimate and vulnerable ways to connect to the Divine. "Even when the gate of prayer is locked, the gate of tears is open (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzi'a 59A)." The second half of the month encourages us to feel the wave of awe and wonder that often follow periods of pain and darkness. If we are able to feel deeply into the broken world we currently inhabit, and even into our own brokenness we can acquire compassion and tools to slowly gather the pieces and put them back together, one of the fundamental purposes of existing as a Jew in this crazy world. We can also reconcile what it means to truly love. As Estelle Frankel writes, "Love and loss are inextricably bound together. We cannot love without risking heartbreak. And ultimately, in love's service, we must be willing to be shattered many times."

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Breastplate  by Nechama Shaina

Breastplate by Nechama Shaina