Moon Over Maui

A Jewish Mystical Journey through the Year

The Shifting Focus of Av

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Aug• 17•11

Love and forgiveness are the promise of the full moon of Av. Typically, as a moon grows in luminosity, its associated areas of healing intensify day by day. The focus peaks on the eve of a full moon and then withdraws little by little as the moon wanes to darkness.

It’s striking that the moon of Av doesn’t follow this pattern. On the full moon Av, feelings of sadness, pain, and destruction aren’t more potent, they actually shift focus completely. There in the middle of the cycle’s deepest wailing comes a full embodied embrace of love and forgiveness.

The Mystique of Av, Full Moon 5771/2011

A beloved teacher recently shared with me that her grown daughter understood that even in her darkest hour, she knew her mother loved her. Her girl said, “Even if I walked into your living room and told you that I had killed someone, you still would love me.” Her mother agreed without hesitation. “Always I love you,” she confirmed

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. And then with some humor affirmed that her daughter didn’t need to test the particular example. Of course not, and they both had a chuckle.

Not many people know that no matter what they do, they are loved. It’s almost cliché. But then it’s not. I deeply question my fundamental (mis)understanding of this truth. I can cognitively philosophize, of course. But honestly, as I search within my heart, I realize I do not have visceral knowledge that I will always be loved no matter what I do or who I am.

Love Is Our Birthright

I also contemplate the participation of judgment in this deep loving. Would the mother judge her daughter if she committed murder? Or does she love without judgment?

The gift of the full and waning Av moon is the awakening of these questions. I am content to loosen the soil of my discernment and wonder. I can relax in the Truth of these teachings and embrace them before I completely understand or can possibly agree.

This is the journey.

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One Comment

  1. Lee Lavi says:

    “Love is Our Birthright.” — I absolutely LOVE that.

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