How nervous are you about the future? How does one deal with all the uncertainty which increasingly pervades our world? Is there a particular Jewish response to all the disruption we are currently experiencing?
As usual we can gain insight by “Living with the times”. With that I mean and emphasize the “Spiritual Times”. It follows that each day is infused with a particular spiritual energy which serves as a moral compass for the Jewish people and through them for the whole of mankind.
Today is the fifteenth day of the month of Av in the Jewish calendar. It is unique in its spiritual intensity. Indeed the Talmud (Taanit 26b) relates “There were no greater festivals for Israel than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur”.
How strange? Why so?
The mystics explain just as the moon is in a constant state of flux, ebb and flow, waxing and waning, so too the Jewish people endure highs and lows throughout its history. For this reason the Jewish people are compared to the moon and because of which we count to her time cycle. Our story has very much echoed her ways.
The Moon’s optimal point is on the fifteenth day of each month when there is a full moon, shining in all its glory. It is for this reason that some of the greatest events in Jewish history - Passover, Sukkot and Purim - coincide with this date.
But why is the fifteenth day of the month of Av unique amongst all the other months ? Why is this day the most special?
The dynamic of the moon is that it reflects a light which is not her own.
As humans we can either shine our own light or reflect the light of someone else. We can create something new or we can internalize an existing idea and then express it to others.
In order to accurately reflect a “light” greater than ourselves we must first assure that there is no “blockage” in our reflective abilities. We must remain pure and impartial, ridding ourselves of all prejudice, so as to allow the “light” to be first fully absorbed which can then “shine” to the outside world inhibition.
The most effective and proven method of riding our systems of all “blockage” is when we overcome setbacks in our lives. It is only when our paradigms are severely challenged at which point we are forced to operate outside of our comfort zones. Only than do matters become crystalized bringing a greater sense of moral clarity.
The month of Av reminds and recalls the Jewish people’s greatest setbacks. It is then that the Jewish rebound is as its greatest. “According to the pain is the reward”, as our wise sages declare.
Subjected to trial and error all “light” becomes personalized. Something can only belong to you once you have earned it. One can only earn something once you have paid for it. Once you’ve paid for it in whichever currency.
Our time to shine, is now.
As we sing each Friday night in that beautiful mystical melody:
“Wake up, wake up, rise and shine, your light has come”.