Today is the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av - "Tu B'Av" - known affectionately in Israel as "Love Day". The Gemara in Tractate Taanit tells us that this is one of the two very best days in the Hebrew calendar, an opportune time for seeking and finding a soul-mate. Here're the events that happened on this wonderful day:
- The 40-year long plague that resulted from the Sin of the Spies terminated.
- The tribes of Israel were allowed to intermarry, whereas previously one was required to take a spouse from his/her own tribe.
- Pilgrimage from all over the Land of Israel to Jerusalem was renewed, whereas previously, anyone outside Judea couldn't reach the Holy Temple.
- This became a festive occasion when all the wood needed for the coming year's sacrifices on the altar in the Holy Temple was completely gathered, despite huge obstacles.
- The myriad of Jews who had been killed defending Beitar during Bar Kochba's revolt were finally brought to burial. This was a double miracle, since the bodies - despite their being strewn in the hot sun for an extended period - did not decompose.
- This is the day when Hashem in His infinite love and mercy put me under the chuppa (wedding canopy) with the very best woman on earth - my wonderful wife Yehudit, may Hashem bless her with abundance of spiritual and material riches, including long and happy days, amen.
"Tu B'Av" has always been a propitious and traditional day for matchmaking. Our sages codified an ancient tradition where all Jewish girls – rich and poor, beautiful and homely - go out dressed in borrowed white dresses and dance in the vineyards (see Tractate Taanit 10b). This was our sages' equal-opportunity mentality, to teach young men to look for upright character rather than a girl's makeup and fancy clothes.
No sage in history ever did so much to help every young lass to feel good about herself as the holy Tannaic sage Rebbe Yishmael ben Elisha. He showed each girl how she is special, accenting the intrinsic beauty of each girl. When he died as one of the Ten Martyrs tortured by the Romans, the women of the Land of Israel mourned him bitterly.
Also featured this week:
Rabbi Shalom Arush - Separate Scales
Dr. Zev Ballen - The Very Best Treatment
Racheli Reckles - What Suitcase?
Yehudit Channen - Together Forever
David Perlow - Trust the Teacher
Jennifer Woodward - Failing Forward
Lori Steiner - Keep Trying
Blessings for a lovely new week! Please drive safely, especially on vacation. Hashem loves you, and we do too!