Wednesday, August 13, 2003

T"u B'av

Today is T"U B'av. It is one of the more underappreciated holidays in the Jewish calendar. It was, of course, rather understressed in yeshiva. It is slightly more appreciated in Israel by those who feel uncomfortable with Valentine's day, but still want to get (and give) flowers and chocolate.

T"U B'av is the Jewish version of Valentine's day. It is much older too. In the times of the temple, today was the day when women danced as men would look on and mates were chosen and matches were made. Today was the day, as tradition has it where it was announced that the tribes were allowed to intermarry amongst each other (ending the squabbling over who would get whose land). It was also the day that the decree was annuled that banned the tribe of Benjamin from marrying outside the tribe after the nasty concubine of Givah incident.

The holiday is full of lore that focuses on love and marraige. It is one of our nicer holidays, if you ask me. I encourage every Jew to start practicing it. There are really few rituals associated with it. Certainly nothing mentioned in Jewish law, so be creative - start your own T"U B'av customs. If they are interesting, let me know what they are.