I hope your summer is going great!
Not long ago we celebrated the Jewish holiday of love – Tu Be’Av.
Of course this holiday also has a story behind it – just like every other Jewish holiday.
According to the Mishna, Tu B’Av was a joyous holiday in the days of the Temple in Jerusalem, marking the beginning of the grape harvest. Yom Kippur marked the end of the grape harvest. On both dates, the unmarried girls of Jerusalem dressed in white garments, and went out to dance in the vineyards (Babylonian Talmud, tractate Ta’anit 30b-31a).
Another interesting thing that happen on that day in the Jewish tradition is that while the Jews wandered in the desert for forty years, female orphans without brothers could only marry within their tribe, to prevent their father’s inherited land in the Land of Israel from passing on to other tribes. On the fifteenth of Av of the fortieth year, this ban was lifted.
Furthermore, that same year, the last of the generation of the sin of the spies, which had been forbidden to enter the Promised Land, found that they were not destined to die. For forty years, every Tisha B’av night, the Jews made graves for themselves in which they slept on Tisha B’Av; every year a proportion of them died. In the 40th year, the fifteen thousand who had remained from the first generation went to sleep in the graves and woke up the next day to their surprise. Thinking they made a mistake with the date, they did this until they reached Tu B’Av and saw a full moon. Only then did they know they were allowed to live.
In modern times, it has become a romantic Jewish holiday, often compared to Valentine’s Day, and has been said to be a “great day for weddings, commitment ceremonies, renewal of vows, or proposing”. Also, “It is a day for romance, explored through singing, dancing, giving flowers, and studying.”
But up until recent years this holiday of love was not a part of the Jewish calendar, there were no special celebrations on it. Today this is a holiday just like Valentine’s Day when couples celebrate their love to each other.
I hope you celebrated this holiday of love with important people in your life.
Want to know more about the holiday of love in Israel?
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Until next time…