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Av (Hebrew: אָב, Standard Av Tiberian ʾĀḇ Aramaic אבא Abba; from Akkadian abu; "father") is the eleventh month of the civil year and the fifth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. The name is Babylonian in origin and appeared in the Talmud around the 3rd century. This is the only month which is not named in the Bible. It is a summer month of 30 days. Av usually occurs in July–August on the Gregorian calendar.
The Babylonian Talmud, Taanit 29a, states that "when we enter [the month of] Av, our joy is diminished". This is because the darkest events in Jewish history occurred during the first week and a half of this month, particularly The Nine Days which culminate in Tisha B'Av, the 9th of Av. However, there is a minor and largely unknown holiday during the full moon of the month called Tu B'Av which was, in ancient times, one of the happiest days of the year.
The month is also sometimes referred to as Menachem Av (Hebrew: מנחם אב) (Av of Comfort or Comforter of Father(s)), but most only use this title in the sanctification of the month recited on the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh and following Tisha B'Av.
Holidays in Av
Av in Jewish history
1 Av - (1273 BCE) - Death of Aaron
- The High Priest Aaron, who was the brother of Moses and Miriam, died at age 123 of the Hebrew year 2488 (1273 BCE). This is the only yahrzeit (date of death) explicitly mentioned in the Torah (Numbers 33:38).
- Following their journey from Babylon, Ezra and his followers arrived in the land of Israel so they could be near the second Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
7 Av - (586 BCE) - First Temple Invaded
- After a month of fighting in Jerusalem, King Nebuchadnezzar's armies of Babylonia broke through, into the Holy Temple, where they feasted and vandalized until the afternoon of Av 9, which at that point they set the Temple on fire.
- Fighting broke out inside the besieged city of Jerusalem between different Jewish factions divided on the question of whether or not to fight the Roman armies who had encircled the city. One group set fire to the city's food stores, which is said to have quickened starvation. Jerusalem would fall three years later.
7 Av - (1492) - The Spanish Inquisition
- The Jews of Spain were expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella on the 7th of Av of 1492, which destroyed many centuries of Jewish life there.
- The first and second Holy Temples which stood in Jerusalem were both destroyed, on Av 9. The First Temple by the Babylonians, and the Second Temple by the Romans. The Temples' destruction represented the beginning of Galut (exile).
- Betar, the last stronghold of the Bar Kochba rebellion, fell to the Romans on the 9th of Av of the Hebrew year 3893 (133 CE) after a three-year siege. 580,000 Jews are said to have died by either starvation or the sword, including Bar Kochba, the leader of the rebellion.
9 Av - (1290CE) - Jews are expelled from England
- Jews were expelled from England by the Edict of Expulsion of King Edward I of England and not permitted to legally return for 350 years.
- The Romans set the Temple on fire on the afternoon of Av 9. This is why the mourning practices for Jews of the "Nine Days" are observed through the morning hours of Av 10.
10 Av - (1994) - AMIA Bombing
- Arabs bombed the Jewish community center (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 86 and wounded more than 300. This is the deadliest attack in Jewish diaspora since the Holocaust.
10 Av - (2005) - Gaza Disengagement
- Thousands of Israelis were evacuated from 25 towns and settlements in the Gaza Strip (including 16 settlements in the "Gush Katif" belt) and Northern Shomron in the summer of 2005, as part of the Israeli government's, Disengagement Plan.
12 Av - (1263) - Nachmanides' disputation
- King James I of Aragon (Spain) ordered Nachmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, 1194-1270) to participate in a public debate, held in the king's presence, against the Jewish convert to Christianity, Pablo Christiani. His defense of Judaism and refutations of Christianity's claims served as the basis of future disputations through the generations. Because his victory was an insult to the king's religion, Nachmanides was forced to flee Spain and came to Jerusalem.
- The Betar fortress was the last holdout of the Bar Kochba rebellion. Betar fell on the 9th of Av, Hebrew year, 3893 (133 CE), Bar Kochba and many thousands of Jews were killed by the Romans. Afterwards, the Romans would not allow the Jews to bury their dead for 15 years afterwards. The dead of Betar were brought to burial on Av 15 of the year Hebrew year 3908 (148 CE), and according to legend an additional blessing (HaTov VehaMeitiv) was added to the "Grace After Meals" in their commemoration.
15 Av - Tu B'Av
- In ancient Israel, it was the custom that on the 15th of Av "the daughters of Jerusalem would go out in borrowed linen garments... and dance in the vineyards" and "whoever did not have a wife would go there" to find himself a bride (Talmud, Taanit 31a). The reason they would wear borrowed linen garments was so those without nice clothes of their own would not be embarrassed.
15 Av - The Day of the Breaking of the Ax
- When the Holy Temple existed, the cutting of firewood for the altar was completed on the 15th of Av every year. The event was celebrated by feasting and rejoicing, as was the custom upon the conclusion of any holy task, and it included a ceremonial breaking of the axes, from which the day gets its name.
17 Av - (1929) - Hebron Massacre
- 67 Jewish adults and children were killed, and others were wounded, raped or injured, by Arabs in Hebron. The Arabs rioted for three days yelling out cries to "Slaughter the Jews." The survivors fled to Jerusalem. This massacre destroyed the ancient Jewish community of Hebron, which had existed there relatively peacefully for centuries. Jews would not return until after Israel's capture of Hebron in the 1967 Six Day War.
24 Av - (circa 100 BCE) - Hasmonean Holiday
- Sometime around 100 BCE, the Hasmoneans reinstated Jewish civil law which replaced the Hellenist secular law, and declared this day a holiday.
- In the story of Xenogears, Av is the name of a country, named after the Hebrew month. In the official Japanese version translation, however, it was transliterated Ave. This was later further changed by the translation process to Aveh for the English version.
- Ab (Arabic: آﺏ) is the name for the month of August in the Levant (see Arabic names of calendar months).
- Telushkin, Joseph (1991). Jewish Literacy: Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History. William Morrow & Co, 656. ISBN 0-688-08506-7.
- Resources on the Month of Av
- Hebrew Month of Av
- This Month in Jewish History
- A Chodesh Av Perspective
- Texts on Wikisource: