Welcome to the month of Leo, and hold onto your hats. The next nine days, culminating in Tisha B’av (the 9th day of Leo), are historically rough, to say the least. Tisha B’Av is a day known by the kabbalists to be the most negative day of the year and has seen some of the most negative events in history: the destruction of the first and second Temples, the beginning of the first World War, and the signing of the Final Solution in Germany in 1942. On a positive personal note, this month brought the birth of Rav Berg.
The good news is that potential energy is always mirrored. Where darkness is strong, Light shines all the brighter.
This New Moon marks the anniversary of the death of Aaron, a lesser known biblical figure, the brother of Moses and Miriam, and the spoken word behind the strength of Moses. Perhaps to aid in the future trials of Tisha B’Av, the Creator and Aaron agreed that this would be the time Aaron would transcend and become our protector, of sorts, from the more damaging aspects of this time. In the way that he shepherded his brother through the tribulations of freeing their people from bondage and gloom, his spirit and memory remains to help us seek the Light in this time. In addition to connecting to the energy of Aaron, Tisha B’Av also saw the elevation of my mother-in-law and mentor, Karen Berg; I feel strengthened by her energy, beauty, compassion and love, especially on this day.
Yes, Tisha B’Av is a wash in darkness, the thing that creates so much disconnection, misunderstanding, and chaos in the world. But Aaron was the one person in the Torah who was set aside as being the exact antithesis of separation. It was said that he ran after peace and love; something to which we should all aspire. Something which we can all attain with an eye on Aaron’s example and hearts full of love.
Moses, imbued with Universal power to free the Israelites from bondage, lost faith in his charges. Full of righteous indignation and strength, Moses saw his people fighting and killing each other and decided, in a moment of darkness, that they did not deserve freedom. Moses would have chosen then and there to leave his people in slavery, believing that hatred, pain, and suffering cannot end and therefore it would be better to leave the Israelites where they were. Rav Brandwein wrote of the Creator’s wish that Aaron intercede with the people and sway their hearts, and Moses’, toward the Light and peace. Aaron knew that doing the work was only part of the effort. Without awakening his consciousness to be filled with love and peace, the work would fall flat. So Aaron’s piece of history is less about cajoling us toward goodness and more about encouraging us all to find an appreciation and acceptance of ourselves and others, to connect to our love for ourselves and others. His example is one of kindness, not fear; of power tempered with love.
The month of Leo – and Tisha B’Av specifically – is a time when we should all heed our selfish, darker inclinations. The challenge of Leo (or, more accurately: opportunity) is one of empathy, compassion, and understanding. So if these coming days hit you hard or push you into a place of conflict with yourself or others, I encourage you to lean into the lessons and power of Aaron to awaken love between ourselves, within ourselves, and reach out to those with whom we’ve become frustrated. Even more than learning from him this New Moon, let’s try living with Aaron.