Shabbat Vaet-hanan 5782
As I said in my sermon last Shabbat morning, the end of Tish’ah BeAv, the most mournful day of the Jewish year, signals a turn to hope. Right on the heels of this day of fasting and dirges comes Tu BeAv, the 15th day of the month. This day, which coincides with Friday, is one of the happiest in our annual cycle. as per the sages of the Mishnah:
“Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: There were no days as joyous for the Jewish people as the fifteenth of Av and as Yom Kippur, as on them the daughters of Jerusalem would go out in white clothes, which each woman borrowed from another. Why were they borrowed? They did this so as not to embarrass one who did not have her own white garments…And the daughters of Jerusalem would go out and dance in the vineyards. And what would they say? Young man, please lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself for a wife. Do not set your eyes toward beauty, but set your eyes toward a good family, as the verse states: “Grace is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30), and it further says: “Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:31)…(Mishnah Ta’anit 4:8)
I’ve abridged the citation so its focus is on Tu BeAv more than on Yom Kippur; that’s a message for a different day. But let’s appreciate the sheer joy and conscious search for love that captured our attention on Tu BeAv. It’s an underappreciated holiday, and we would do well to restore it to significance. After all, Valentine’s Day gets plenty of love (pun intended), so why not Tu BeAv?
With this in mind, the music I’m sharing this week is on theme. I probably could have found infinitely more songs about unfulfilled love (as Elton John said, Sad Songs Say So Much); but all of these tracks are joyous. Love is, after all, a many splendored thing!
Since music is the international language of love, here are two of my favorite Hebrew songs on the subject.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Wise
Candle lighting: 7:39 PM
Torah Reading: Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1-26