Today is the Jewish holiday Tu B’Av (the 15th day of the month of Av). What? You didn’t know about Tu B’Av? No worries, it’s a teensy holiday. It’s a workday in Israel. Not even a Hallmark holiday, really.
It’s been compared to Valentine’s Day in that it celebrates love. In earlier times Tu B’av was a festival dedicated to young Jewish men and women finding their mates – women were encouraged to dance in the vineyards wearing white, vying to be chosen by a young man. I guess that preceded JDate. It’s also the beginning of the grape harvest during the second temple period, so I guess it celebrates love and wine. Today it’s a popular day to get married or engaged.
It’s interesting that the holiday comes a mere week after Tisha B’Av, which is an extremely sorrowful fasting holiday. Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of the first and second temples. It was on Tisha B’av that God declared that the generation that was wandering in the desert for 40 years was not to be allowed to enter Israel. This isn’t religious school, so I won’t go into any more detail, but, trust me, Tisha B’Av was just one really bad day. . .
So a week later you have this joyous holiday that celebrates love and wine. Isn’t that a little interesting? I mean, why so close together? We have a whole year to have holidays, why have this sorrowful holiday where you chant from the Book of Job and then a mere week later dance in the vineyard?
My interpretation is that it’s a whole moving on thing. Y’know; life sucks and then we move on. The temple got destroyed; a whole bunch of wandering Jews just got told they’re never getting into the holy land, and then, we get back to the business of living and guaranteeing the continuation of a people by encouraging the young folks to find their soulmates.
So, here we go. I thought Tu B’Av didn’t have anything to offer me this year – I mean, I certainly didn’t think love was worth celebrating two weeks before my court date and my return to single life after 31 years. And, while I’m not planning on donning a white dress and dancing in a vineyard, I do get the whole move on and get over part.
Glass of wine, anyone?