The month of Av 5773 begins on July 8, 2013. Traditionally Rosh Hodesh Av is recognized as ushering in a period of reflection on the calamities that led to the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, as it marks the beginning of the period on the Jewish calendar known as “The Nine Days,” culminating in Tisha B’Av. Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, marks the destruction of the First and Second Temples.
Our sages tell us that senseless hatred, sinat hinam, was the cause of the cataclysms that befell the Jewish nation, resulting in the destruction of the Temple, the loss of our independence, and the people of Israel being scattered to the four corners of the world (Yoma 9b).
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, among others, taught that the response to sinat hinam is ahavat hinam, love of our fellow Jews.
In the spirit of tikun (correcting past sins) we, leaders of the major streams of contemporary Jewish life, unite to call for a deepened commitment to the principle of Clal Yisrael, communal cohesiveness.
Informed by the teachings of our sages and the lessons of history as well as our conviction that we share more than what divides us, we call upon all segments of our community to display Ahavat Ysrael, love of the Jewish people in deeds and words.
In the spirit of Jewish unity we call for respect for our fellow Jews, even for those with whom we have differences.
With the approach of Rosh Hodesh Av, we ask that our actions and utterances, public and private, be guided by sensitivity to the needs of the other and by appreciation for the sincerity of the motives of those with whom we disagree.
We pray that the month of Av will bring the blessing of Jewish unity, harmony and peace to our people. May the message of Tisha B’av remind us that the antidote to Hurban ha-Bayit, the destruction of the Temple, is Shalom Bayit, peace in the (Jewish) home. We pledge to do what we can so that peace and good will shall prevail in the House of Israel.
JFNA Rabbinic Cabinet
(Jewish Federations of North America)
Also published on Medium.