In a kabbalistic treatise on the month of Av it is written, “When a contemplates a piece of wisdom and he’s having difficulty, he should think thoughts of repentance, feel the pain of the exile, and pray for the redemption. This will awaken his mind to the idea he wishes to grasp.” The merit of the mitzvah of praying for the redemption is spiritually connected o the need for wisdom. They are really one and the same. The redemption is the reuniting of God and man. Our world is not in an ideal state. There is war, famine, ignorance, crime, etc. The redemption will bring and end to all that is un-Godly in the world. Feeling this loss brings a person back to a consciousness that is elevating.
In another kabbalistic treatise on Av it is written an explanation of the verses from Lamentations “all who chose God will grab a hold between the bad times” “This means that people who want deeply to grasp an understanding of God’s infiniteness will find it easier in the days known as “between the bad times” – which is from the 17th of Tammuz (last month) until the 9th of Av.” We see that now is an auspicious time for expressing the need and desire for more clarity about God.
These two quotes form the foundation of the spiritual quality that exists in Av. There is a potential for clarity in our relationship with God and spirituality. This clarity comes from a sincere desire to correct our faults. We must focus on the barriers we share as a society.
This month is known historically for being the time of the Jewish peoples’ greatest tragedies e.g. the destruction of the temples in Jerusalem during Talmudic times. Yet the Kabbalah, which it often does, looks at what lies underneath the tragedies, which is the potential for a greatness that didn’t exist before the tragedy. This is why tradition says that the new temple will be built in the month of Av. This is also why tradition says that the messiah is born in the month of Av. In mystical knowledge good things are often hidden in bad things. Holiness is hidden in impurity. The truth is if you understand God’s oneness you’ll see it has to be this way. This is a broader topic that the present format does not allow for. For our purposes it sufficient to understand that sometimes a tragedy brings a person to clarity that they never had before. For example, the passing of a loved one often brings in to sharp focus all the wonderful things about the person that we failed to truly appreciate when they were alive. In a similar vein, when the first temple was destroyed it showed the people clearly that they were not living up to their potential in spiritual endeavors. This wake up call brought out a feeling of repentance, which has a spiritual power that is experienced in every generation. This year you may feel it.
That yearning to correct what we need to correct in ourselves is so powerful that it’s the seed of the ultimate redemption, the foundation of the final temple, and the doorway to a clearer understanding of our Creator.