© 2017 by Shalom Magazine

Tu B' Av

Tu B’Av, the 15th Day of Av, is both an ancient and modern holiday. Originally a post-biblical day of joy, it served as a matchmaking day for unmarried women in the second Temple period (before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.). Tu B’Av was almost unnoticed in the Jewish calendar for many centuries but it has been rejuvenated in recent decades, especially in the modern state of Israel. In its modern incarnation it is gradually becoming a Hebrew-Jewish Day of Love, slightly resembling Valentine’s Day in English-speaking countries.

    Tu B' Av is when the nights starts getting longer this means that we have making our learning more and more.

     The Mishnah tells us that: "No days were as festive for Israel as the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur." (Tractate Ta'anit) What is Tu B'Av, the 15th of the Hebrew month of Av? In which way is it equivalent to Yom Kippur?

    Our Sages explain: Yom Kippur symbolizes God's forgiving Israel for the sin of the Golden Calf in the desert, for it was on that day that He finally accepted Moses' plea for forgiveness of the nation, and on that same day Moses came down from the mountain with the new set of tablets.

 

    Just as Yom Kippur symbolizes the atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf, Tu B'Av signifies the atonement for the sin of the Spies, where ten came bearing such negative reports which reduced the entire nation to panic. As a result of that sin, it was decreed by God that the nation would remain in the desert for 40 years, and that no person 20 or older would be allowed to enter Israel. On each Tisha B'Av of those 40 years, those who had reached the age of 60 that year died – 15,000 each Tisha B'Av.

This plague finally ended on Tu B'Av.

    On this date, four historical events occurred:

(1) The Jews of the Exodus generation stopped dying in the desert,

(2) Intertribal marriage was permitted to post-Exodus generations,

(3) The tribe of Benjamin was saved from extinction,

(4) The Romans permitted the burial of Jews killed in the Beitar revolt (138 CE). After the Romans had destroyed the Second Holy Temple, the emperor Hadrian planned to transform Jerusalem into a pagan city-state with a shrine to Jupiter on the site of the Temple. This led to the great Jewish revolt of Simon Bar Kosiba (Bar Kochba), whose guerilla army succeeded in actually throwing the Romans out of Israel and establishing, albeit for a brief period, an independent Jewish state. It required large numbers of Roman troops to crush the revolt. Bar Kochba made his final stand in the city of Beitar, located southwest of Jerusalem. It was estimated that hundreds of thousands of Jews lived in Beitar, and they were all massacred "until their blood flowed into the Mediterranean Sea." Further, the Romans did not allow the Jewish bodies to be buried. According to Jewish tradition, the bodies lay in the open but did not rot, until three years later on the 15th of Av, burial was finally permitted.