Rosh Chodesh Av / ראש חודש אב

The beginning of the new Hebrew month of Av. Av is the 5th month of the Hebrew year. Corresponds to July or August on the Gregorian calendar.

On Monday July 28th 2014 will be the 1st of Av 5774.

Hebrew Month of Av The Jewish month of Av has 30 days and takes place in the summer, usually around August time. It is actually the only Hebrew month of year that is not mentioned in the bible, but is first spoke about in the Talmud. There are two festivals that are in Av. On the 9th and on the 15th. On the 9th of Av is Tisha B’av which is a sad day when Jews fast. It remembers the destruction of the two temples and also many other sad events which have happened throughout Jewish history.

Many Jewish people in the United States observe Tisha B’Av, which is the ninth day of the month of Av in the Jewish calendar. It is a day of mourning to remember various events such as the destruction of the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem. When Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat (Saturday), it is deferred to Sunday, 10th of Av.

What do people do? Many Jewish people in the United States observe various restrictions during Tisha B’Av. These restrictions may include: Fasting. Avoiding washing, bathing, shaving or wearing cosmetics. Not wearing leather shoes. Avoiding certain types of work. Abstaining from sexual activities. Many traditional mourning practices are observed, such as refraining from smiling and laughing. Those who observe Tisha B’Av are allowed to study only certain portions of the Torah and Talmud on Tisha B’Av.

Author: The Book of Lamentations does not explicitly identify its author. The tradition is that the Prophet Jeremiah wrote Lamentations. This view is highly likely considering the author was a witness of the Babylonians destroying Jerusalem. Jeremiah fits this qualification (2 Chronicles 35:25; 36:21-22).

Date of Writing: The Book of Lamentations was likely written between 586 and 575 B.C., during or soon after Jerusalem’s fall.

Purpose of Writing: As a result of Judah’s continued and unrepentant idolatry, God allowed the Babylonians to besiege, plunder, burn, and destroy the city of Jerusalem. Solomon’s Temple, which had stood for approximately 400 years, was burned to the ground. The Prophet Jeremiah, an eyewitness to these events, wrote the Book of Lamentations as a lament for what occurred to Judah and Jerusalem.

Key Verses: Lamentations 2:17, “The LORD has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago. He has overthrown you without pity, he has let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn of your foes.”

Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the LORD’s great ×love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 5:19-22, “You, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.”

Brief Summary: The Book of Lamentations is divided into five chapters. Each chapter represents a separate poem. In the original Hebrew, the verses are acrostic, each verse starting with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In the Book of Lamentations, the Prophet Jeremiah understands that the Babylonians were God’s tool for bringing judgment on Jerusalem (Lamentations 1:12-15; 2:1-8; 4:11). Lamentations makes it clear that sin and rebellion were the causes of God’s wrath being poured out (1:8-9; 4:13; 5:16). Lamenting is appropriate in a time of distress, but it should quickly give way to contrition and repentance (Lamentations 3:40-42; 5:21-22).

Foreshadowings: Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet” for his deep and abiding passion for his people and their city (Lamentations 3:48-49). This same sorrow over the sins of the people and their rejection of God was expressed by Jesus as He approached Jerusalem and looked ahead to her destruction at the hands of the Romans (Luke 19:41-44). Because of the Jews’ rejection of their Messiah, God used the Roman siege to punish His people. But God takes no joy in having to punish His children and His offer of Jesus Christ as a provision for sin shows His great compassion on His people. One day, because of Christ, God will wipe away all tears (Revelation 7:17).

Practical Application: Even in terrible judgment, God is a God of hope (Lamentations 3:24-25). No matter how far we have gone from Him, we have the hope that we can return to Him and find Him compassionate and forgiving (1 John 1:9). Our God is a loving God (Lamentations 3:22), and because of His great ×love and compassion, He sent His Son so that we would not perish in our sins, but can live eternally with Him (John 3:16). God’s faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23) and deliverance (Lamentations 3::26) are attributes that give us great hope and comfort. He is not a disinterested, capricious god, but a God who will deliver all those who turn to Him, admit they can do nothing to earn His favor, and call upon the Lord’s mercy so that we will not be consumed (Lamentations 3:22).

Reference:

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/tisha-b-av
http://www.listofhebrewmonths.com/listofhebrewmonths/av.asp.
http://www.hebcal.com/hebcal/?v=1&year=2014&month=7&nx=on&mf=on&ss=on&nh=on&D=on&vis=on&set=o
http://www.gotquestions.org/Printer/Book-of-Lamentations-PF.html

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