A Short Tu B’Av Thought

Posted on July 26, 2010

I am pleased to present this thought from our friends at Your Jewish Speech.

In Biblical times, on this day (the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av), the Jewish girls would dress up in white, go dancing in the vineyards, and the men could chose from them a bride, even if they were outside their immediate tribe. (For example a man from the tribe of Benjamin could marry a girl from the tribe of Reuben). Surprisingly, the Talmud compares this day to perhaps the MOST well known day in the Jewish calendar – Yom Kippur – by saying that “the people of Israel had no holidays as joyous as Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur”. This begs the question “in what way are these two seemingly different festivals connected”?

Tu B’Av, being a day of courtship and pending marriage, represents the forging and renewal of ties of love, family and friendship among people. While, Yom Kippur is a day of forging and renewal of our ties to God, a day when we resolve to turn over a new leaf in our relationship with our Creator. We can say then that the two festivals are paralleled in joy because they both represent the building and strengthening of relationships. Perhaps we should learn from Yom Kippur that part of building and strengthening relationships involves an annual resolution to “start all over again” with our loved ones: our spouses, family and friends.

There is a story about the famous Rabbi called the Ba’al Shem Tov, who sent his disciples to learn how to repent by following the example of a very simple man. They saw this man standing in prayer, holding two notebooks, and speaking to God, “Master of the Universe, in this notebook I have recorded the many sins which I committed this past year. And in the other notebook I have recorded all the suffering and troubles you brought upon me. I will forgive You for all the troubles if You forgive me for all my sins!” He then threw both notebooks into the fire.

This Tu B’Av, lets remember to renew our bonds with the people who are nearest and dearest to us, and to allow this story to serve as a model for our relationships – let’s throw all the notebooks into the fire, and begin anew!

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