This week at Azamra

Torah Calendar

8-16 Av 5778
20-28 July '18

For this week's study schedule & classes, CLICK HERE

Attributes of the month of Av: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH: KEH VAV YOD KEH, contained in the initial Hebrew letters of Haskeis Ushmo'a Yisrael Hayom... "...take heed and listen, O Israel, this day..." (Deut 27:9). The month's corresponding letter is: TET; Human attribute: HEARING; Body Part: LEFT KIDNEY ; Tribe: SHIMON; Constellation: ARYEH (Leo, the Lion).

Friday 20 July / 8 Av

Eve of Shabbat
Although some observe the prohibition of washing the entire body even on the eve of Shabbat during the Nine Days, many wash in warm water in honor of the Shabbat and wear their customary Shabbat clothes.

Friday night-Saturday 20-21 July / 9 Av
Shabbat CHAZON, Parshat DEVARIM

Torah reading: Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22; Haftara: Isaiah 1:1–27 "The vision (chazon) of Isaiah..." after which this Shabbat preceding the Fast of Tisha B'Av is named.
"Intent, focussed prayer on this Shabbat elevates the prayers of all the year, because the prayer of a poor person elevates all prayers to favor" (R. Uri of Strelisk). "This is the greatest Shabbat of the year" (the Oihev Yisrael of Apta). "On Shabbat Chazon every Jew is granted a vision of the Holy Temple" (Lubavitcher Rebbe).
Today is the 9th Av, which is normally a public fast day commemorating the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and other tragedies. However since this year 9 Av falls on Shabbat, the fast is deferred until Saturday night-Sunday, since it is inappropriate to display any outward signs of mourning on the Shabbat. The only fast-day that is observed even on Shabbat is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
The Shabbat is celebrated in the normal way, and it is permitted to eat and drink as much as one desires until the time of sunset on Saturday afternoon, after which one must cease all eating and drinking.

Saturday night-Sunday 21-22 July / 10 Av
Fast of Tisha B'Av (deferred)

Today we observe the Fast of Tisha B'Av commemorating (1-2) The destruction of the First and Second Temples; (3) The decree that the generation of the wilderness who listened to the evil report of the spies would not enter the Land of Israel; (4) Capture of the city of Beitar after the failure of Bar Kochba's rebellion; (5) Plowing of Jerusalem by the Romans. The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 also took place on Tisha B'Av.
Besides abstaining from eating and drinking, full mourning is observed today, including sitting on very low chairs or on mats on the floor and abstaining from washing, annointing, wearing shoes and marital intimacy.

After the evening service at the conclusion of Shabbat, Megillat Eichah (Lamentations) is read, followed by the recital of Kinot, mournful dirges about the destruction of the Temple and other tragedies.
Following the morning service Torah reading, lengthy Kinot are recited followed by the reading of Eichah. This takes up most of the morning until midday. Many visit Jewish graves on Tisha B'Av to rouse the souls of the dead to beg for mercy for us.

The fast ends after nightfall (Tzeit Hakochavim, appearance of the stars) on Sunday. It is customary to recite Kiddush Levanah, "Sanctification of the Moon" after the evening service after end of the fast.

10 Av is the anniversary of the birth and death of Issachar, son of Jacob and Leah.

Sunday night-Monday 22-23 July / 11 Av

The Nine Days prohibitions against eating meat and drinking wine continue to be observed on Sunday night after the conclusion of the fast, but because this year the fast of Tisha B'Av was deferred, the prohibitions against laundering, washing and haircuts that normally apply until midday on the following day are lifted directly after the conclusion of the fast.

May we witness the return of the Divine Presence to Zion and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple quickly in our days. Amen!

Thursday night-Friday 26-27 July / 15 Av
TU B'AV

The Fifteenth of Av (Tu B'Av) is one of the happiest and holiest, albeit hidden festivals of the Torah calendar, possessing the same sanctity as Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It marks the day when the decree of death for the generation of the wilderness was seen to have come to an end, and also the anniversary of the reconciliation of the Tribes of Israel with the Tribe of Benjamin after the war over the Concubine of Giv'ah, preventing the extinction of that tribe by enabling its surviving members to marry women of other tribes (Judges 19-20, 21:19; Ta'anit 30b). Under Hoshea ben Elah, king of the Ten Tribes, the roadblocks set up by Yeravaam ben Nevat (Jeraboam) preventing pilgrimage to the Jerusalem Temple were removed, and under the Roman occupation, the slain of Beitar were brought to burial. Thus the Fifteenth of Av is a day of reconciliation between man and God and between man and man.
"On this day the daughters of Israel would go out and dance in the vineyards and one who had no wife would take himself there..." (Ta'anit 30b). Today is particularly propitious for prayers to find and connect with one's soulmate.

From this point in the year onwards in the northern hemisphere, the nights are becoming noticeably longer, and we should add to our Torah studies during the night-time hours because "a man learns most of his Torah wisdom only at night" (Rambam, Laws of Torah Study 3:13).

Friday night-Saturday 27-28 July / 16 Av
Shabbat NACHAMU, the Shabbat of Comfort
Parshat VE-ETCHANAN

Torah reading: Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11; Haftara: Isaiah 40:126, "Comfort ye (nachamu), my people...", first of the Seven Haftarot of Consolation read between Tisha BeAv and Rosh Hashanah.
On Saturday night, after the end of Shabbat Nachamu -- announcing the coming redemption -- it is customary for those in the environs of Haifa, Israel to visit the Cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel.


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