A few years ago, Rav Benny Lau gave a shiur on Tu B’av which I wrote up and saved. Rav Lau’s message is well worth thinking about.

(Please note, I wrote this in my own words and therefore if it is copied please link back to IsraelK.org)

Firstly, click on here to find out everything happening over Tu B’av.

Rav Benny Lau:

”The Gemarah at the end of Massechet Taanit (dapim 30/31) goes through the reasons why Tu B’av became a joyous and happy day, like Yom Kippur.

Two of the reasons are that the ban into marrying into the Tribe of Binyamin following the horrific ‘Pilegesh B’Givah’ episode was lifted and also inter-tribal marriage was permitted, which had previously not been acceptable, due to misunderstandings in the ruling concerning who the daughters of Tzlofchad could marry. After the Sanhedrin clarified the issue, inter-tribal marriages became commonplace.

Both these reasons led to a reuniting of Am Yisrael, which was a source of joy.

Other reasons the Gemarah gives, is that the Romans permitted the bodies of dead Jews to be buried which they had not allowed since the fall of Beitar -65 years after the destruction of the Second Bet Hamikdash. Also on Tu B’av, Hoshea Ben Elah removed the roadblocks set up by Yeravam Ben Navat, that prevented the Jews from the Northern Kingdom from travelling to Yerushalayim for Aliyah L’Regel.

Another reason the Gemarah gives, is that Tu B’av is the end of the season of wood gathering for the Mizbeach. It was a day of special korbanot in the Mikdash.

A final reason is that it was day when the decree of the death of the generation of the spies ended. G-d decreed that the entire adult male population of that generation should die out during the 40 years of wandering. In the final year of wandering, none of the remaining 15,000 died. Only when there was a full moon, did everyone realize that the decree had been rescinded.

The Gemarah ends describing how all the young maidens of Yerushalayim would wear borrowed white dresses, so as not to embarrass anyone who had no dress and they would dance together in the vineyards. By all wearing white and dancing together, they were showing that they were all united in their quest.

What is the common denominator between all these reasons and why did the maidens all dress in the same borrowed white dresses?

The answer is – the idea of compromising and breaking down the barriers and fences that we build, often to protect ourselves, which separates and divides us and instead trying to focus on our similarities and what we have in common.

It was only when the moon was whole, that they realized that the decree of the death of the generation of the spies was over. Similarly, it is only when Am Yisrael are whole and unified, when we stop focusing on our differences and instead look at what we have in common, that we will stand a chance of seeing the rebuilding of the Bet Mikdash and Yerushalayim.

The idea of compromising and focusing on what we have in common and and not what divides and separates us, is the source of successful relationship too. No two people are the same or perfectly compatible, and it’s easy to find differences and problems. Anything worthwhile requires work and effort and the willingness to compromise and to give and not just take.

Tu B’av is a day when we can celebrate our similarities and at least try to overlook our differences-on a national and personal level, which is why Chazal viewed it as a day of great simchah.






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