The Jewish calendar takes us on a bit of a roller coaster during the summer. Last Saturday/Sunday, we marked one of the darkest days of the Jewish year, Tisha B’Av – the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av. We now move away from the sadness of Tisha B’Av – as we mark one of the most romantic days of the Jewish year, Tu B’Av – the 15th day of Av – today, August 16.
Tu B’Av began during the second Temple period (before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE). It was a matchmaking day for unmarried women who would go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards while saying: “Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)!”
Tu B’Av, like several Jewish holidays begins on the night between the 14th and 15th day of the Hebrew month. This is the night of the full moon in our lunar calendar. Linking the night of a full moon with romance, love, and fertility was not uncommon in ancient cultures and was clearly embraced by Judaism.
After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70C CE, the only way Tu B’Av was celebrated was that the morning prayer service on that day did not include any penitence prayers, stressing that this was a day of joy. With the re-establishment of Israel in 1948, Tu B’Av began to make a comeback. Modern Israeli culture promotes festivals of singing and dancing on the night of Tu B’Av. Israelis give cards and flowers to their loved ones on Tu B’Av and the date is popular for weddings. In the past, the Israeli homepage for Google featured hearts placed in the Google icon.
Take some time this Tu B’Av to love. Share some love. We all need it!