Jewish Valentine’s Day

Tonight, at Kabbalat Shabbat Services, many of you will be renewing your vows. Sure, I admit it, this is good schtick to get you to come to services. And, yes, we did it during the same month as Valentine’s Day! But, let me be clear, there’s nothing Jewish about Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 CE.  One legend teaches that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When the Roman Emperor decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied the Emperor and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, the Emperor ordered that he be put to death. According to another legend,…