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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Contradictions and Course Corrections: Chodesh Menachem Av 5779

"Leo"from the Michal Mahzor, Germany 1258.
 Chodesh Menachem Av Tov!
Av 5779
(August 2 – August 30)


Our tradition tells us that when Chodesh Av comes, we reduce our joy, yet it also informs us that Tu b’Av is one of the two most joyful holidays in the Jewish calendar! It was on Tu b’Av that the daughters of Jerusalem disregarded social status and economic disparity by each loaning the other white dresses so that all might dance beneath the moonlight in equality. It was the day the 12 Tribes were reconciled after the civil war and tribal intermarriage permitted again.

Indeed, Chodesh Av is full of contradictions and course-corrections. The new moon in Leo on erev Rosh Chodesh Av scorches hypocrisy and deceit with the white-hot heat of judgment. The (delayed) fast of Tisha b’Av August 11 is sufficiently solemn with Moon in Capricorn, yet the day’s energy wildly fluctuates, with Jupiter direct, Mercury’s ingress into Leo, and Uranus’s retrograde station in Taurus. Universal rather than particularistic love reigns at the full moon in democratic, humanitarian, egalitarian Aquarius on Tu b’Av, August 15. Course-corrections are re-calculated August 23 at the last quarter moon in Gemini with the Sun’s entrance into calm, analytic Virgo. By the Virgo new moon August 30 joined to Mercury in his own sign, clarity is restored.

May Chodesh Av’s powerful potential for extreme emotion be channeled into the passionate quest for dignity, wisdom and discernment! 
"Menachem Av" with "Ari" the lion representing the zodiac sign of Leo, detail from a Torah binder, Germany, 1748