"There were no days as pleasurable for Israel as Fifteen (Tu) in Av and Yom HaKippurim."
Today's post is all about love ♥
After a full week of berating ourselves over baseless hatred, the time has come for a little love and warmheartedness!
Tu B'Av is a day generally associated with love, romance, a bit kitschy. However, after checking it out, I discovered there are other explanations for this happy day. And at the risk of sounding like a mini-Rabbanit, I want to share with you the six reasons behind Tu B'Av.
Following are the six real reasons Tu B'Av was declared a day of rejoicing:
1 – "On this day the Tribes were permitted to come, one to the other". Until Tu B'Av, the Children of Israel could marry only within their own tribe. (Binyamin man with a Binyamin woman, Ephraim with Ephraim, Yehuda with Yehuda, and so on). On Tu B'Av all of the tribes could marry within each other. (Binyamin with Ephraim, Yehuda with Binyamin)
2 – "This was the day the Tribe of Biyamin was once again allowed to mingle with all the tribes." In the days of the Judges, there waged a war between the Tribe of Binyamin and all the others. So that all the other tribes took an oath never to let their daughters marry into the Tribe of Binyaminim. This led to the fear that the Tribe of Binyamin would become extinct. On Tu B'Av that oath was annulled.
3 – "The day on which the desert deaths ended". After the sin of the Spies on Tisha B'Av, all the Sinners were sentenced to die. How was this done? Every year of the 40 years in the desert, on the 9th of Av, all the men would enter graves they had dug for themselves. The next day those left alive, saw they had been spared one more year. Each year more than 15,000 died this way. In the 40th year all those remaining, entered their graves, and when they all stayed alive, thought it was some sort of mistake. Thus, night after night they continued entering their own graves, until Tu B'Av – at the full moon – when they at last realized Hashem had forgiven them, turning Tu B'Av into a day of rejoicing.
4 – "The day on which Israel was allowed to go up to Jerusalem." There was a period of time when the (wicked) King of Israel, Yerovam ben Navot, forbade traditional pilgrimage to Jerusalem. On this day, Israel was saved by annulment of the decree.
5 – "The day on which the Murdered of Beitar were able to be brought to proper burial." During the Bar Kochba Revolt, the Romans slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Jews, refusing to permit their burial. On Tu B'Av the order allowing their burial was given.
6 – "This is the day on which they officially stopped cutting down trees for the altar sacrifices in the Temple." At that time there was a special mitzvah for cutting down trees to burn on the Temple's sacrificial altars. The wood (it was commanded), had to be completely clean of worms. On Tu B'Av, when the sun officially begins to weaken and cool off, they would stop hewing the trees, to prevent even the smallest possibility of their developing worms. The people were joyful because, now that they no longer needed to cut trees, they could spend more time learning Torah. And so they celebrated.
(Wow – that was long! 🙂
I decided to look closer at the second of the above 6 reasons; the one known as "Dancers in the Vineyards". After the young men of Binyamin were given permission to marry into the other tribes, the Elders of Israel recommended that they visit the vineyards of Shiloh. There the girls would dance in the vineyards, seeking a prospective chattan (groom). So the 200 last young men of the Tribe of Binyamin went there, met young women, married them and thus helped continue the lineage of their tribe.
What I find especially beautiful about the dancers in the vineyards is that the Gemara tells us that they lent each other clothes, so they could all be beautiful and attractive. No girl would then be ashamed and miss meeting her chattan!
From this, as usual, I understand how very important are our clothes.
Clothes played an important role in attracting young men even in the time of the Temple, when those girls would dress beautifully in order to attract a potential chattan. The Torah not only doesn't forbid this, but even praises these young women, saying there's nothing wrong in dressing tastefully. Quite the opposite!
In today's post I identify with the Daughters of Israel, not by dancing in the vineyards, but rather by choosing to be photographed in a dress borrowed from a designer's label of modest fashion – "Miss Elegant".