The Month of Av
Seasons of the Moon The lion is the king of the jungle. He brooks no opposition; he demands to rule alone. The Lion connotes pride. The collective noun used to describe a group of lions is a 'pride of lions.' The spies who were sent to the Land of Israel and who returned on the ninth day of this month, suffered from this fatal flaw.

Pride is rooted in the element of fire that seeks to rule at all costs. The spies' pride and concern for maintaining their status distorted their vision of the Land. If the spies erred in their perception, making self-fulfilling prophecies of doom, the Jewish People were also at fault by listening to this distorted report.

The month of Av is associated with the tribe of Shimon - from the same root in Hebrew as the word 'hearing.' Thus, Av is a time that is predisposed to correct mistakes in regard to hearing - listening to lashon hara (gossip) and rechilut (slander).

Even though Av is the saddest time of the year for the Jewish People, fraught as it is with tragedy, in the future it will be a month of great happiness. For the day of disaster - the 9th of Av - will also be the day that Mashiach will be born. He will come from the tribe of Yehuda whose symbol is the lion.

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