Image: The Western Wall, or Kotel.
Av (ahv) is the eleventh month of the Hebrew year. It began at sundown last night, August 1, 2019. We call the first day of a new month Rosh Chodesh, meaning “the head of the month.”
Av is often mentioned as the “unluckiest” or “saddest” month of the year, based on a mention in the Talmud in Taanit 19a: “When we enter Av, our joy is diminished.”
Av has a number of sad anniversaries in it. Foremost of those is the 9th of Av, Tisha B’Av, on which we remember the destruction of both the first and second Temples, as well as the expulsion from Spain in 1492. These were the greatest disasters in Jewish history before the 20th century.
Av is also a hot, dry time in the Land of Israel, when water is even more scarce than usual and when the sun beats down even in relatively cooler places like Jerusalem and Sefat.
What are your associations for this season? How might they fit into the Jewish understanding of this time of year?