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Tu B'Av

Tu B'Av

Tu B'Av: The Real Festival of Love

Published on Friday August 16th, 2019

The Jewish calendar is full of festivals all beautiful and deep. Pesach is the symbol of freedom, Rosh Hashanah, a day of judgment, Chanukah, the festival of lights, Sukkot, the moment when we detach ourselves from all material comfort, Purim gives a message of reversal of situation, where all becomes possible, and of course, the day of Yom Kippur, a day of reflection, of tears, and of supplications, to arrive, at the end of the day, clean of our faults. Each holiday carries a strong message, each festival tells our story.

Yom Kippur is, without any doubt, the most respected festival for all Jews, from the most orthodox to the most secular, from the youngest to the oldest. Who would give up a day where all is reset, a day of mercy, a day where we are given a second chance, a day where we can simply get closer to our essence and the One who created us?

Surprisingly, the Talmud connects this unique day with another day that most people do not even know about: Tu B'Av. For those who have heard of this day, they associate it with "Valentine's Day," Lovers Day, for the Jews. Tu B'Av however, is so much more. Tu B'Av is so wonderful, that it is not surprising that it is placed on the same pedestal, in matters of spirituality, as Yom Kippur.

The Talmud writes, "The girls would come out dressed in linen clothes and dance in the vineyards ... and whoever did not have a wife, would come and pick one out there." (Talmud, Ta'anit 31a)

This day was devoted to the search of a soul mate. Far from all the false values imparted by society where appearance takes precedence over internal qualities, far from obsession with external appearance, far from the influence of magazines which portray 'ideal' beauty, Tu B'Av was a day of authenticity. No one was pretending, no one wanted to impress, the clothes that the girls wore were not only simple, but they had been borrowed so as not to make any girl prevail over another, and so as not to give more chance to a girl with more means, compared to another simpler girl. It was a matter of finding one's other half, one's future spouse, with deep honesty, and thus, these future unions would be true and solid.

When we think about it, Judaism requires us to serve Heaven, and the highly spiritual spheres, while keeping our feet on the ground. Hashem wants us to enjoy the pleasures of this world, with balance. We are neither a religion of deprivation nor a religion of anarchy where there is no limit.

Jewish marriage also respects this spirit. Two people who seem to be different in every way, will join together to establish a family, with joy and respect for one another, for the sole purpose of serving G-d.

Tu B'Av conveyed a magnificent message and so down to earth. There was an atmosphere of deep happiness and holiness in the fields, when the young men came to meet the girls. They had to choose their future wives without being blinded and deceived by beautiful clothes or beautiful ornaments. The atmosphere was pure and transparent of all the filters that prevent us from seeing as we should see. A healthy love was evident in a harmonious and clear way.

Thus, we better understand the parallel between Yom Kippur and Tu B'Av. These are two days when we abandon our bodily needs, our physical priorities, two days where we indulge body and soul in our spiritual service. As hard as it is not to eat or drink for 24 hours, imagine the strength and above all the self-denial that must be shown not to get ready and be pretty, while we go to meet the man of our life. This is so unnatural for a woman.

Tu B'Av is a magnificent symbol of emunah (faith in G-d). No matter what I look like, I'm not afraid of another girl stealing my other half. I do what I have to do with a light heart, and Hashem will guide my steps and my heart towards my future husband, and He will guide my future husband towards me.

It is time for us to restore to Tu B'Av the place of honor it deserves. This day is obviously an opportunity to increase our marital love, but not only this. This day is a good time to remove the blindfold that covers our eyes all year round and look at the world and its creatures as they really are. This will allow us to see a perfect world created with so much wisdom, children bursting with energy that give us so much joy and purpose on earth despite the noise and chaos all around, a loving and hard-working husband, even if it means he is not home a lot, and a house that allows us to feel safe, even if it is not as big as we would have liked.

Let us not allow society to think in our place and dictate what we need to be happy. Let us remove all the superficial layers of our lives and allow the true inner values ​​to shine in our homes.

Myriam H. - © Torah-Box

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