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Tu B'Av

Tu B'Av

Tu B'Av: Festival of Lovers

Published on Friday August 16th, 2019

Today is Tu B'Av, literally the 15th of the Hebrew month of Av, and in Israel, it is the ''festival of the lovers'', which is reminiscent of February 14th of the Gregorian calendar. Concerts, summer cultural events or sending sweet words mark this secular festival of love ... Is there a religious origin to this?

The Talmud in Taanit (26b), reports that the 15th of Av was one of the happiest days the Jewish people knew. It was a day of organized shidduchim (wedding meetings), the girls of Jerusalem would go out all dressed in white and engage single men in discussions to get acquainted with them.

It is a day conducive to prayers to ask Hashem to make us find our destined life partner quickly especially at the tomb of the Tana (Mishnaic Sage) Yonatan Ben Uziel in Amuka (Galilee).

But it must be said that the Talmud states that the ceremony of the 15th of Av was also held on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement). Indeed, at that time, most of the day's avodah (service of G-d) took place in the Beit Hamikdash (Temple of Jerusalem), and the people did not spend the day praying like today, but rather they spent the day fasting and reflecting.

Rav Dessler asks, why choose precisely the day dedicated to the mitzvah of teshuvah (repentance) to organize a "meeting for singles", as if there is no other time to take care of these things?

He answers that it was the best time to establish a Jewish home because in their great kedusha (sanctity), the earlier generations saw marriage as the most sacred object of existence and therefore it is not surprising that they used that day to organize meetings.

In this same passage of the Talmud we read: "Young man, be vigilant in your choice, do not focus on beauty but on family. Grace is a lie, vain is beauty, and only a woman who fears God is praiseworthy”.(Proverbs of Solomon, chap.31)

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