Rosh Chodesh Av begins at sundown Thursday, Aug. 1, and highlights extreme contrasts, housing one of the darkest days, on the ninth of Av, and one of the brightest, on the 15th day.
Tisha B’Av is a day of fasting that recalls the suffering of our people at the hands of the Babylonians and Romans. It also marks the decree that Jews would wander the desert for 40 years, the expulsion of Jews from England on this day in 1290, and Spain, on this same day, in 1492.
Tu B’Av, celebrates the yearly peak of the masculine sun’s energy, combined with the monthly peak of the feminine moon, in which we’re most poised to meet our soulmates or deepen our connection if we’re already with our beshert. It’s a day of intense love.
Meanwhile, it’s not Chanukah, and we’re not living in Israel, but a great miracle happened here.
Last month, I shared about the fiery month of Tammuz and an angry neighbor who had verbally assaulted me and another who had vandalized our garden. It might sound trite without the details, but the lessons are deep and profound. I’d been agonizing about what steps could modify the yard, without giving in to the bullies. I implored Hashem to appear with the answer because I had exhausted myself trying to find a solution.
On June 25, at 6 a.m., my husband awakened me from yet another sleep-screaming nightmare. Scheduled to leave on vacation with family members in two hours, my husband announced he wasn’t going, due to the unpredictable behavior of the haters. I wouldn’t go without him, and our landscaper, needed for the transformation, wasn’t available until early September.
Two hours passed, and I paced like a tiger. Meditation time. For 20 minutes, I visualized each home and family, infusing them with peace and love. It was easy for the ones who have supported us, but very difficult for those who have been hateful. Imagining Hashem breathing in with me and exhaling peace in a gale force made it possible. Each time my thoughts turned to the ugliness, I breathed in again and released it through the filter of G-d’s love and peace.
I was exhausted, scared and frustrated because I couldn’t fix the situation. I prayed and prayed for clarity with a solution. No stranger to conversations with Hashem and the angels, I heard, “You need to take care of yourself. Let us take care of how it happens.”
“All right!” I spoke aloud. I sat for about two minutes with how hard it was to let go of trying to control the outcome, when I heard my husband’s phone ring. He came running in as if holding a hot potato and I was wearing oven mitts.
The voice of our landscaper on the phone called my name. “Yes?” He told me that he awakened to orders from his “Boss” – how this man of Christian faith referred to G-d – saying that he wouldn’t be going to his scheduled job that day, but would, instead, be coming to us, with his crew of 11 men. We weren’t even supposed to be home and the night’s rains thwarted the work to be done elsewhere. He said the job would take four days to complete. We’d be away for five.
They arrived within minutes. Sobbing, I threw my arms around him, saying that G-d was manifest in him as an angel, taking action that would restore peace. It was nothing short of a sacred miracle. I told him that we have the same Boss, even if we pray in different languages. He nodded and agreed.
We went on vacation. He sent continual videos of the progress. It was more beautiful than we had imagined, and not only has peace been restored, but we’ve received words of love from all but one of the haters.
There is nothing left to say but thank you, thank you, continually to Hashem, as well as the angels, both the G-dly and earthly ones.
Meditation Focus: Miracles can happen in the world if everyone prays and acts on behalf of peace. What action might you take that restores peace? Hashem is listening.