Monday, August 1, 2011

The Biblical Month of Av.

Today, August 1st 2011 begins the important month of Av.

Nu 33:38 And Aaron the priest went up to Mount Hor at the command of the LORD and died there, in the fortieth year after the sons of Israel had come up out of the land of Egypt, in the first of the fifth month. (MKJV)

The biblical month of Av begins with a significant event in history, the death of Aaron, the first High Priest of Israel. The death of Aaron, was perhaps a signal that this month would be a month of tragedy throughout most of Jewish History.

The name of the month "Av" like all the other names of months in the Hebrew Calendar, was changed after the exile in Babylonia. (As a matter of fact, only two of the original names are recorded in scripture.)  "Av" means "father." In the name "Menachem Av," "The One Who comforts, the Av," could refer to Hashem, Who is called the Father, He is the one who comforts His people for all the tragedies that were suffered in the month of Av throughout history.

The period beginning with "Shiva Asar B'Tammuz," "17 Tammuz," and ending in "Tisha B'Av," "9 Av" is known as the period of "Bein HaMetzarim," "Between the Straits," or “Dire Straights” are days of historic trouble and tragedy for the Jewish People.

The most important event in history, the one that started it all is the report from the 12 spies that went to the promised land to see what was there. They reported back that they could not defeat the inhabitants of the land. For their disbelief, the entire generation that came out of Egypt would die in the wilderness. Only their children would enter the promised land. This became a type of exile and the pattern would be repeated again and again throughout history.

Here are some of the other significant events that occurred on the 9th of Av.

587 BCE The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians under the rulership of Nebuchadnezzar.

70 CE The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans under the leadership of Titus.

135 CE The Romans conquered Bar Kochba's last fortress, Betar, and destroyed his army. The Roman Emperor Hadrian turned Jerusalem into a Roman city, changing its name and killing or expelling all the Jews.

1290 King Edward the1st of England signed an edict expelling all Jews from England.

1492 Jews were expelled from Spain.

1670 The last Jews left Vienna, following expulsion orders.

1914 World War I began (Germany declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914).

1940 Himler presented his plan for the "Final Solution" to the Jewish problem to the Nazi Party.

1942 Nazis began deporting of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto

2005 Gaza was abandoned by Israel and over 8000 rockets have rained down on Israel since.

The first of Av begins a 9 day period of more intense mourning. Jewish traditions are varied for the observance of this 9 day period and include: Not cutting one’s hair, abstaining from meat, not washing cloths and especially not studying Torah (9th only). All of these things are considered to be joyous and are not practiced during a time of mourning. Another interesting custom in some circles is that if the 9th of Av falls on a Sabbath, the fast is postponed to Sunday and the blessing of the wine is done on Sunday night. The Sabbath is also a joyous festival and is not observed in the usual way during a time of mourning.

Tisha B’Av is the only other full day fast aside from Yom Kippur. The last meal is eaten before sunset on the 8th of Av and usually is comprised of round foods to symbolize the cycles of life.
Seven days after Tisha B’Av is Tu B’Av or the 15th of Av. This day is observed as a joyous celebration and is similar to the ending of the mourning period after the death of a loved one. According to some rabbis, this minor holiday of Tu B’Av is celebrated in a similar way as Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement where atonement was made and forgiveness was granted for the sin of the golden calf. Tu B’Av marks the end of the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and is symbolic of the ending of the shiva, or the seven days of mourning for the generation who died in the wilderness.

All of this will change in the millennium, when Yeshua returns. Tisha B’Av along with the other fast days will be turned into feast days!

Zec 8:18 And the word of the LORD of hosts came unto me, saying, 19 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace. {feasts: or, solemn, or, set times} (KJV)

No longer will mourning be necessary. Yeshua will rule from Jerusalem and the nations will come up to the mountain of the LORD.

Isaiah 2:3 NKJV 3 Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan and Brenda Cathcart

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