Tu b'Av and Celebrating Life. . .
But Tu b'Av is a little known, little celebrated holiday in the Jewish religion. It can pass one by almost unnoticed. Well, it's time we noticed it. This is what Rav Avraham Trugman of Ohr Chadash has to say about Tu b'Av:
Tu B’Av – the Holiday of Love
Our sages tell us there were no days as joyous in the Jewish calendar as Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur (Taanit 26b). Considering such a strong statement it is a wonder that Tu B’Av is perhaps the least known or appreciated of the holidays. In the last generation though, the significance of this day is slowly re-entering Jewish consciousness and observance. As described in the source above, this was a day when young women would borrow white clothing from each other and go out to the vineyards to sing and dance, and of course the men were close behind. By the light of the full moon love was in the air and the young were encouraged to open their hearts in order to find their soul mates.
There are in fact many historical reasons for this holiday and they are all connected to the themes of hope, renewal, rectification, love and the triumph of life over death. Coming so close to Tisha B’Av, the low point in the Jewish calendar, Tu b’Av takes on added spiritual significance.
His moving, spiritual poem about this period of time embodies the Jewish Way of celebrating life. Would that the whole world followed this type of path--it would summarily end the cruelty and suffering and terror. Happy Tu b'Av, and may those who are single, find their basherte* and succeed in their shiduchim*:
From Tisha B’Av to Tu B’Av
Moving beyond exile to redemption, resurrecting death into life;
turning sackcloth into dancing, transforming darkness into light.
Where just a few days before we sat on the floor and cried,
history passing before our eyes, a lament, a dirge, an agonizing sigh.
But now the full moon is rising,
making silhouettes come alive.
The vineyards are filled with young dancers,
feel the energy electrified.
Each one looking, searching, hoping to create destiny out of fate;
praying deeply in their heart of hearts to find their soul mates. "May everyone merit this year to find their soul mates and for those who are married may there be a renewal of love and commitment."
Tu - tet and vav, Hebrew letters equivalent to the number 15
Tisha - Hebrew for the number 'nine'
basherte - Yiddish for 'soulmate' or 'intended' one
shidduchim - matchmaking