Bruce Baber (25 July 2011)
"In July 2010 I wrote this article about Tu B'Av"

 


Last year Tu B'av came on July 26.  This year (2011) it comes on August 14th.

Colossians 2:16-17, "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."

Oh, the approaching festival is looking promising! If all the festivals are supposed to find their parallels in the life, death, resurrection and return of Jesus, then this lone festival could fit the rapture. Many have rightly said that Jesus has already fulfilled all of the Springtime festivals. They skip over to the Fall festivals and don't look for the rapture until Rosh Hashanah. But they skip right over Tu B'Av like it doesn't exist on the Jewish calendar. It has to be there for a reason! We can't just pretend it isn't there. At one time it was one of the most important Jewish holidays! I am watching this upcoming date on the calendar closely.

Read about how the ancient Jews (and some modern ones) celebrated Tu B'Av.

The next Tu B'Av is July 26, 2010. (written last year)

The Mishna (Ta'anit 4:8), surprisingly enough, proclaims, "There were no greater holidays for Israel than Tu B'av and Yom Kippur, for on them the girls of Jerusalem used to go out in borrowed white dresses ... and dance in the vineyards. What would they say? 'Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself...' ".

Tu B'Av is a holiday devoted to singles. In earlier times the young single women would go out to the fields dressed in white. Each woman would wear a dress borrowed from another so that those who were too poor to have dresses of their own would not be shamed. Then the men would come down to the fields and pick a bride.

After the destruction of the temple and the exile of the Jewish people the holiday was rarely celebrated, but with the establishment of the modern state many Kibbutzim adopted the day as a sort of Jewish Valentine's day. People once again wore white and danced in the fields and the vineyards. Read what the rabbis wrote about Tu B'Av.

 

"Indeed, the 15th of Av cannot but be a mystery. As the "full moon" of the tragic month of Av, it is the festival of the Future Redemption, and thus a day whose essence, by definition, is unknowable to our unredeemed selves.

Yet also the unknowable is ours to seek and explore, as we shall in two essays, based on the Lubavitcher Rebbe's writings and talks, presented here. The Day of the Breaking of the Ax approaches the mystery of Av 15 by examining a number of events which occurred on this day. Based on Lubavitcher Rebbe's writings, it is thought that with the imminent coming of Moshiach, the true import of the "Day of the Breaking of the Ax" shall come to glorious light, and the 15th of Av will be truly revealed as our greatest festival. The Dancing Maidens of Jerusalem sees in the Talmud's account of their match-seeking dance a model for the various dimensions of our relationship with G-d: And so it is written, "Go out, daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon,1 in the crown with which his mother crowned him on his wedding day and on the day of his heart's rejoicing" (Song of Songs 3:11). "His wedding day" -- this is the Giving of the Torah... " (My note: It struck me that this rabbi made an association of the Song of Solomon with Tu B'Av).

"Tu B'Av celebrates the ultimate consummation of our marriage with the final redemption of Moshiach."

(My note:Notice the connection this rabbi made of Tu B'Av with the Messiah).

"After relating how "the daughters of Jerusalem would go out... and dance in the vineyards" and "whoever did not have a wife would go there" to find himself a bride, the Talmud goes on to describe three different categories of "daughters" and how each would call out to her perspective bridegroom..."

What would the beautiful ones among them say? "Look for beauty, for a woman is for beauty."

What would those of prestigious lineage say? "Look for family, for a woman is for children."

What would the ugly ones say? "Make your acquisition for the sake of Heaven, as long as you decorate us with jewels" (Talmud, Taanit 31a).

"The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the marriage of G-d and His people also includes these three categories of "brides": the souls of Israel include "beautiful" souls, souls "of prestigious lineage," and "ugly" souls,3 each of whom contribute their own unique dimension to our relationship with G-d."

"There are two types of love, say the Chassidic masters. There is a love that is generated by the person's own mind and heart, when s/he meditates on the greatness and desirability of a person (or thing, or state) and thereby develops feelings of love and attraction to him/her/it. Then there is an inborn love: a love that a person has not created himself -- indeed, he may be unaware that he possesses it -- but which resides in his heart from birth, a natural bond and attraction to something that is implanted in his soul by virtue of who and what he is.

"You shall love G-d" (Deuteronomy 6:5) is a crucial component of our relationship with the Almighty. Aside from the fact that loving G-d is itself a mitzvah (Divine commandment), it is also a prerequisite for the proper observance of all the mitzvot. As Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi elaborates in his Tanya, mitzvot which are not motivated by a love of G-d are performed mechanically and erratically; only one who loves G-d serves Him in a manner that is both integral and enduring."

"Do for Your sake, if not for ours,"4 call the "ugly" souls of Israel. Take us as Your own, despite our appearance, because only You know what lies behind our appearance, and only You know the truth of what You can inspire in us. For You know that, in truth, "The daughters of Israel are beautiful, it is only that poverty obscures their beauty."5 You know that our "ugliness" is not our true essence, but imposed upon us by the spiritual poverty of galut.

If we have failed to realize our potential for beauty and fruitfulness, then it is left to You to "decorate us with jewels" -- to shower us with the gifts that will waken our quintessential bond to You and bring to light our innate perfection."

My note: This rabbi saw a connection to both the Messiah and marriage as the ultimate fulfillment of Tu B'Av. Though modern Judaism is perplexed as to why Tu B'Av should be considered one of the most important festivals, in ancient times it was nevertheless considered to be so. This rabbi unknowingly taught that Tu B'Av should be considered important for reasons that only make sense to the modern Christian in light of the rapture.

 

YBIC

Bruce Baber