Between destruction and love

This Shabbat the 13th Day of Av, is my Hebrew Date of Birth.
We are told that our Hebrew Birthday provides many personal insights and lessons with regard to our life. It is a day of supreme divine intervention.
The number 13 therefore has always intrigued me. Thirteen is the gematria value for “ahava” as well as “echad”.
Having been born in the month of Av – the month of “Father”, this is a theme I am very focused on.
Being four years divorced, having two teenage children mainly staying at their Mom, the role of father is challenging.
A few days ago we commemorated Tisha b’Av (The 9th Day of Av) remembering the day the two Temples were destroyed.
In a couple of days’ time on the 15th Day of Av we will celebrate Tu b’Av – the Jewish Festival of Love and Romance.
Having been born between these two days of Destruction and of Love, I appreciate that the 13th of Av, my Hebrew birthday is closer to Tu B’Av than it is to Tisha B’Av. It is closer to Love.
This encourages and instructs me to focus less on the destruction of the past and more on the possibilities of love for today and for tomorrow.
It instructs me to nurture fatherly love of my kids and to pray for the romantic love that will be one day please G-d, be a part of my home.
In this Shabbat’s portion “Ve’etchanan” we read the line from Judaism’s most famous prayer “The Shema”:
“Hear O Israel the Lord is G-d the Lord is One” –
This Oneness of Hashem expressed in this Shabbat’s Parasha on the Date Av 13, is surely a sign for us to “listen to” (as the name of the prayer “The Shema” suggests) and consider the connection between Oneness and Love.
We are currently experiencing extremely challenging days of war and destruction. The world is looking at the People of Israel very carefully at this moment in time. Many hate us. Some love us.
With so much hatred and destruction happening around us, this week’s parsha of Oneness, which we read just prior to the Festival of Love, surely provides us a message.
For me personally, this time between Destruction and Love, on my Hebrew Birthday this Shabbat, guides me to look in the direction of Love.
May the Oneness and Love of this Shabbat shine onto the People of Israel, the People of Gaza, and onto the whole world.
Shabbat Shalom

About the Author
David Skolni is a South African immigrant. He came to live in Israel in 1982. He is a special needs teacher and a practitioner in the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education. His current interest is in the connections between body, movement and Judaism.
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