Sunday, August 17, 2008

On Tu B'Av

The parsha is an important part of a Jew's life. This Shabbat, for far from the first time, I told and heard about the parsha. I was blessed to receive an aliyah from a gabbai who got it right, remembering my Hebrew name from yeshiva in Israel over twenty years ago when we were last in touch. I spoke publicly on the parsha. Before the talk (introduced by the friend from twenty years ago) I caught up with a friend from yeshiva in Israel 28 years ago.

Rabbi Zev Reichman of the Shul where I spent Shabbos was away and he emailed a dvar Torah that the gabai read: He cited Rabbi Mosh Wolfson, saying that if someone gives 6 reasons for something you get the feeling that they're not telling you the real reason - that there's a deeper reason, hidden.

Shabbat was Tu B'Av and the Gemorah says that it's a big day on the Jewish calender, up there right next to Yom Kippur. The Gemorah asks what's behind the joy of this day and offers many possibilities. One of the reasons behind Tu B' is that throughout their years in the desert the generation that left Egypt was dying out. The way it worked is that every year on Tisha B'Av they would make graves fro themselves and lay down in them. In the morning some people would walk out of their graves and others would be buried. On the fortieth year on Tisha B'Av everyone lived. They couldn't believe it and thought they were a day off. They tried again the next night and kept on trying. Each night no-one died. On the fifteenth of the month the full moon made it obvious that Tisha B'Av had passed and the decree of death was over. These people, at this tie achieved redemption, warranted G-d's mercy - though one can argue they weren't the most worthy.

The rabbis tell us that there will be a redemption that will make the exodus from Egypt secondary. When Mashiach comes it will be so great that Ytziat Mitzrayim will all but be forgotten. It makes sense that there will be a new 7 day holiday similar to, but grander than Pesach. If you count 7 days from Tisha B'Av it culminates with the holiday of Tu B'Av (just as Pesach culminates with the splitting of the sea). This is perhaps the true - deeper, secret, meaning of Tu B'Av.

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