Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Tu B'Av!

I heard a nice idea on this morning by Rabbi Ruvi New here:
Among other things he expressed the idea that the juxtaposition of Tisha B'Av to Tu B'Av shows us that our relationship with H-shem survives intact and even stronger after the Churban Beit Hamikdash. Last night at a farbrengen, Mrs. Rochel Chana Riven spoke about the important idea of falling as a springboard for elevation in the same vein. I cannot do justice to either of their words though. I will try BL"N to get a link to some of the thoughts she paraphrased from the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

In the meantime here are some beautiful Tu B'Av thoughts from Hakhel:

Special Note Five: Today, joyously, is the 15th day of Av, Tu B'Av. We are all too familiar with the five major tragedies that occurred on Tisha B'Av through the fall of Beitar and the plowing over of Zion (succeeded by other later tragedies as well). We may be equally as familiar with the five corresponding great events of Tu B'Av: Very briefly: 1. It was finally determined that the final group of men aged 20-60 (previously part of the decree to pass away in the Midbar) were allowed the privilege of entering Eretz Yisroel. 2. The shevet of Binyamin was saved from extinction by the shevatim being permitted to marry their daughters to the few hundred men left---so that there would be a kiyum of the shevet forever. 3. The guards posted by the Kings of the Aseres Hashevatim for hundreds of years, which prevented the ten tribes from freely traveling to the Bais Hamikdash, were removed--and all were allowed to make their way to the Mikdash. 4. The people of Beitar who were murdered by the Roman legions, and whose bodies miraculously did not decompose for years, were finally allowed by the Romans to be buried (and as a result the bracha of HaTov U'Maitiv was composed). 5. The people would no longer cut firewood for the Bais HaMikdash commencing on this date, because the sun's rays had begun to weaken, and the people celebrated the completion of the Mitzvah (which also allowed for more time for the study of Torah, as explained by the commentaries).

There is, however, an additional significant point about this day mentioned in the
Mishna in Ta'anis (4:5). There were nine days during the year in which families donated necessary wood to the Bais HaMikdash and celebrated the privilege by bringing a special sacrifice--a Korban Eitzim along with it. One of these special nine days of the year was Tu B'Av. However, there was something more special about the wood brought on Tu B'Av than on the other eight days--for on the other eight days the wood brought was limited to one particular family's gift--but on Tu B'Av, as the Mishna specifically records it was a particular family --"the children of Zeitu ben Yehuda"--but *together with* Kohanim and Leviim; and *together with* anyone who no longer knew which shevet he was from, and *together with* other families who had demonstrated mesirus nefesh to reach the Bais Hamikdash in the past (see Bartenura there for details). In other words, there was a unique achdus on this day which went well beyond the singular family donation, and extended it to a united gift from various groups together. It was almost as if the events of Tu B'Av were to be a blatant demonstration as to how the issues of Tisha B'Av have to be resolved--with togetherness and selflessness. Indeed, the Bnai Yissoschar explains that it is no coincidence (did you really think that it was?!) that all of this happened on the fifteenth of the month--and that the fifteenth letter of the Aleph Bais is a Samech. The Samech has no top and no bottom, no beginning and no end--indicating unity, harmony and accord. It is for this reason, as the Mishna teaches, that the unwed girls would go out on this day in shared clothing (so that there was equality among rich and poor as well)--and dance in a circle --demonstrating that although one may be a Kohen, another a Levi, a third not know which shevet he was from, another rich, another poor--we are all joined as one, and will always be one.

The last Mishna in Ta'anis teaches that there were no greater Yomim Tovim for K'lal Yisroel than Tu B'Av and Yom Kippur. On the surface, we could explain that this is because on Yom Kippur we united with Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and on Tu B'Av we united with each other. The Kopshitzer Rebbe, z'tl teaches, however, that when we dance with each other on Tu B'Av--holding on to the next one's hand and going around in that undefined circle joined together--HaKadosh Baruch Hu's hand is very much holding on to ours as well.

Most certainly, when we dance together at any simcha, we should feel the spiritual elevation--the unity and oneness with everyone in our circle, and with HaKadosh Baruch Hu who joins with us as well. On this very special day, Tu B'Av, let us consciously demonstrate that we appreciate and understand the very special juxtaposition of Tisha B'Av and Tu B'Av. Let us practice extra-special acts of love and caring for our brothers--holding on tight and joyously dancing in that broad and meaningful circle with everyone--whether or not we may actually be on any one plywood floor together!

Don't miss the day's opportunities!

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