Tu B’Av, the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Av, was decreed by the rabbis as a festival of love to be celebrated every year at the beginning of the fall harvest in ancient Judea.
Unlike other holy days on the Jewish calendar, Tu B’Av does not celebrate freedom from slavery, miraculous feats like the parting of the Red Sea, or the collapsing walls of Jericho that allowed Joshua and the Israelites to return to their homeland.
This is the meaning of Tu B’Av: If we are to survive as a nation, we must accentuate the positive and eliminate excessive negativity. As King Solomon informed us “Only love can conquer death.”
Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of Av (this year, August 1), the Jewish people remembered the tragedy of the destruction of the Temple which drove Jews out of their homeland to wander the earth as a hated people. BUT – the rabbis were quick to put that into perspective. Present hardships do not determine the end. Rather, they are challenges we can and must overcome. All we need is the will. Celebrating a Festival of Love, six days after the holiday of remembrance, is our clarion call to LIFE.
The rabbis decreed that girls put on their best garments – preferably white – and dance through the cities, streets and vineyards. Crowds throughout Judea danced and sang, jubilant that the past is past and the future is what we choose to make it.
The secret of Jewish survival: TO LIFE, TO LIFE, L’CHAIM!
Photo credit: Israeli PikiWiki