The current Hebrew month of Av has as its spiritual sense the sense of hearing (all months are endowed with a special spiritual sense according to Sefer Yetzirah). Generally, Av is seen as a month of mourning because many tragedies befell the Jewish people. The origin of the ‘curse’ of this month is faulty hearing. Moses sent out spies to survey the land of Israel and they returned with a report that shook the faith of the people in their ability to enter the land. Their hearing of the report occurred on the 9th of Av and as the Midrash states: “You cried for no real reason—this will be a day of crying for (sadly) real calamities.” As with all negative perceptions there is always a silver lining—some ray of light within the darkness. So another teaching goes (Midrash) states that the Messiah is to be born on the 9th of Av.
Our task this month is to rectify our hearing—as in the hearing of the Shema prayer—to hear that God is one. My Kabbalah teacher explains that the ears (the sense of hearing) are associated with Binah. The “understanding” of Binah also implies the ability to examine the degree of truth or falsehood inherent in a particular idea. This is expressed in Job as: “the ear examines words.” The initial letters of the phrase “the ear examines words” spell the Hebrew word–emet, “truth.”
In working on my hearing, Rita and I were given a wonderful tape on the universal language of babies. A mother in New Zealand spent hours listening and trying to discern what different infant cries mean and she has come up with 5 basic sounds (she claims these are cross cultural). A beautiful video about her and her discovery is on You Tube under Dunstan Baby Language http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ehv5m9gnu0. Just one example—the cry “Neh” means “I’m hungry.” At times it is not so easy to differentiate between Neh and Eh which mean very different things. For any parents and grandparents I suggest you listen in to Priscilla Dunstan and her discovery and see if it applies to your baby.
As rich as the DunstanBaby Language system is I can’t help but wonder also about the ray of light that follows the cries of the month of Av. So, I will start my own little research project to highlight another Baby Language; the language of happiness. Eva laughed out loud the other day. It startled me. I didn’t get the joke but I am very pleased she did.
For those wanting to work on their hearing I highly recommend a KE special presentation of music and meditation by Rabbi Avraham Trugman, next Wednesday evening @ 7:30 here at the Goldberger Center.