Most of us know about, but do not rigorously observe, Tisha b’Av, the recently passed day for the sorrowful commemoration of the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. Most of us do not know about, and so do not observe, the joyous holiday of Tu b’Av, the holiday that commences this Sunday night (August 14).
Tu b’Av is a holiday of about love and romance, graced appropriately enough with a full moon. One sage in the Talmud, intending a compliment, even placed Tu B’Av on the same level of joyousness as Yom Kippur. I have never viewed Yom Kippur as a joyous holiday, but I understand Shimon ben Gamliel to mean that this holiday is, or ought to be, a time of great importance.
I also know, as the contemporary sage Hal David has taught, “What the world needs now is love sweet love. No, not for some but for everyone.”
So, in a few days, let’s celebrate the last holiday of the year. Maybe we all won’t go dancing in the vineyards, but let’s at least renew our acquaintance with Tu B’Av. You never know what will happen when the moon is full.
I don't know how much, if any, religious significance St. Valentine's Day has for Christians, only that it has become secularized as the holiday for lovers. Tu B'Av is our Jewish equivalent -- a particularly choice day, according to the "tradition," for weddings, a respite after the Three Weeks solemnity leading up to Tisha B'Av, and -- now this is important! -- the day to celebrate the completion of chopping wood for the season ahead.
Thanks to Roger for calling our attention to this opportunity for adding romance to religion -- or is it religion to romance? -- and thanks to Reb Wikipedia for filling in the pieces Roger didn't pass along.
BTW, when you have a shyla (question), you may very well save a step in getting it answered by going first to Reb W., because chances are that's where Reb Google will send you first anyway.
I loved learning about this love holiday! Hopefully I'll be aware of it in advance next summer, and perhaps on of our Intimacy Retreats will be held at that time!
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