Parashat Va’Etchanan


On Friday we celebrate Tu B’Av. Some explain that the joy of Shabbat Nachamu is really rooted in the joy of Tu B’Av since when the ninth of Av occurs on Sunday, Shabbat Nachamu and Tu B’Av coincide. Even when they do not, their proximity warrants a festive mood similar to Tu B’Av.

In the Talmud (Ta’anit 26b), Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel famously declares: “there were no holidays in Israel as great as Tu B’Av and Yom HaKippurim.” The Gemara states that Yom Kippur understandably is a holiday as it is the day of forgiveness and atonement, but why is Tu’BAv such a happy occasion? The Talmud gives six reasons:

  1. B’nei Yisraelbecame aware on that day that the decree that all males of the generation of the exodus would die as a result the sin of the spies had come to an end.
  2. The dead of Beitar were buried.
  3. The temporary prohibition forbidding a woman inheriting land in Israel from marrying anyone outside of her tribe was lifted.
  4. In the aftermath of the civil war following the tragedy of pilegesh b’giv’a, the other tribes had vowed that the tribe of Binyamin, which had been practically wiped out, would not be able to marry any woman from the other tribes. This would have led to Binyamin’s total extinction. On Tu b’Av, this vow was lifted and Binyamin’s continuity as a tribe was assured.
  5. The roadblocks set up by Yeravam to prevent aliya l’regelwere removed by Hosheia ben Eila.

Chopping wood for the mizbeach ended as a result of the coming of the end of the drying effect of the summer season, and the siyum hamitzva was celebrated. From now on, the Gemara concludes, all who increase their Torah study will benefit.

Indeed, Tu’B’av arriving so soon after Tisha’a B’av is itself a Nechama, a comfort. Chachamim tell us in Esther Rabbah that HaKadosh Baruch Hu never creates a problem for Bnei Yisrael without first creating the antidote, the solution. Perhaps the best medicine for the Sina’at Chinam, the baseless hatred, which led to the Churban HaMikdash is to create more Achdut, more unity, through building Jewish families and creating Shidduchim, like we do on Tu B’av.

May our return to Hakadosh Baruch Hu inspired by the tragedies of the exile and renewed enthusiasm for Divine service as well as a realization of G-d’s infinite mercy serve as merits to rush the final redemption!

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yehuda Moses,
Rav HaKehillah/Senior Rabbi
Congregation Mogen David

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