Honestly, I am always glad when the three weeks and Tisha be’Av are over. It just gives me a positive feeling and I start looking forward to Elul. 🙂
Unfortunately, many Jews have never heard about the Jewish holiday “Tu Be’ Av”. Mourning the destruction of both Temples on Tisha Be’ Av a week earlier is much more common than celebrating the Jewish “Valentine’s Day” on 15th Av.
Tu Be’ Av is a minor holiday (starting tonight + tomorrow Monday) from the Temple times. In those days, Jewish singles used to go out into the fields and look for someone to marry. The Talmud explains the whole procedure and compares Tu Be’ Av with Yom Kippur. It says in the Mishna in Ta’anit 26b as well as in the Gemarot in Ta’anit 30b and Bava Batra 121a that Israel had no days as festive as the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur.
What do have the fast day Yom Kippur and the happy day of Tu Be’ Av in common ?
First of all, both days are joyful days. On Yom Kippur, G – d forgives us our sins and we are thankful about it. Singles used both days to meet each other. Single meetings on Yom Kippur afternoon were quite common in those days. People would sit and talk, as there was not much to do anyway.
The above mentioned Talmud Tractates also teach that the singles dressed up in white clothes. Each of them wore the same having the advantage that no one could tell if someone was rich or poor. Everybody looked just equal and had the same chances. The Talmud also teaches that the clothes were borrowed and, therefore, had to be immersed into the Mikveh.
According to Rashi, the white clothes had to be immersed as there might be a suspicion that the real owner did not keep the family purity laws (Taharat HaMishpacha). Then female and male Jewish singles went out into the fields finding their match.
Today, we do not necessarily go out into the fields finding someone but maybe we should still see the day as something special. In Israel it is a great day because Israelis always look for something to celebrate. They do celebrate the regular Valentine’s Day but also Tu Be’ Av. Remembering Tu Be’ Av is even more special, as it is a day our ancestors celebrated in Talmudic times. People usually buy flowers and cook a nice meal in the evening.
Have a great and successful (finding the right match) Tu Be’ Av !