Hag Sameah! Today it is my pleasure to wish you a festive Tu B’Av, one of the least-known but most festive days on the Jewish calendar. No, it’s not Tu Bishvat, so we won’t be having a fruit-filled seder; and it’s clearly not Tish’ah B’Av, that mournful day we commemorated earlier this week.
What is Tu B’Av? It’s the Jewish version of Sadie Hawkins day, as described by the sage Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel in the Mishnah:
“Israel had no other days as festive as the fifteenth day of Av and Yom Kippur. For on those days, the daughters of Jerusalem would go out in borrowed white dresses (so as not to embarass those who didn’t have)…and what would they say? ‘Young man, lift up your eyes and see; who would you like to choose?'” (M. Ta’anit 4:8)
Our tradition has always encouraged match-making events. In the days before JDate.com, the well was the meeting place for several sacred couples, as we read in a number of Torah stories. So what is it about this date, the fifteenth of Av, that it was designated for festivity and shiddukhim? On Friday evening, just as we welcome Shabbat and bid farewell to Tu B’Av, I’ll share some of the reasons for this tradition, and how it can serve our community today.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,