11 August 2022

"Everlasting Love"

14 Menachem Av 5782

Every 15th of the month which falls in a time of trouble, I am haunted by the vision I had in a dream of a missile attack on Eretz Yisrael which happened under a full moon.  Given the time and events, I can't help thinking it might actually materialize in a matter of days.  But, if it has to happen, it couldn't come at a more propitious time of the year to receive the maximum amount of mercy from HKB"H.

We have now entered the days of mercy, repentance, forgiveness and consolation.  Tonight begins the holiday of TU b'Av - the 15th of Av - the "Love" holiday.  

The Mishnah tells us that: "No days were as festive for Israel as the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur." (Tractate Ta'anit) What is Tu B'Av, the 15th of the Hebrew month of Av? In which way is it equivalent to Yom Kippur?

Our Sages explain: Yom Kippur symbolizes God's forgiving Israel for the sin of the Golden Calf in the desert, for it was on that day that He finally accepted Moses' plea for forgiveness of the nation, and on that same day Moses came down from the mountain with the new set of tablets.

Just as Yom Kippur symbolizes the atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf, Tu B'Av signifies the atonement for the sin of the Spies, where ten came bearing such negative reports which reduced the entire nation to panic. As a result of that sin, it was decreed by God that the nation would remain in the desert for 40 years, and that no person 20 or older would be allowed to enter Israel. On each Tisha B'Av of those 40 years, those who had reached the age of 60 that year died – 15,000 each Tisha B'Av.

This plague finally ended on Tu B'Av.

...That last year, the last 15,000 people got ready to die. God, in His mercy, decided not to have that last group die, considering all the troubles they had gone through. Now, when the ninth of Av approached, all the members of the group got ready to die, but nothing happened. They then decided that they might have been wrong about the date, so they waited another day, and another...

Finally on the 15th of Av, when the full moon appeared, they realized definitely that the ninth of Av had come and gone, and that they were still alive. Then it was clear to them that God's decree was over, and that He had finally forgiven the people for the sin of the Spies.

This is what was meant by our Sages when they said: "No days were as festive for Israel as the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur," for there is no greater joy than having one's sins forgiven – on Yom Kippur for the sin of the Golden Calf and on Tu B'Av for the sin of the spies. In the Book of Judges, Tu B'Av is referred to as a holiday (Judges 21:19). (Source)
It's fine that TU b'Av is associated with marriages and betrothals and the love between a man and a woman.  That definitely has its place in our tradition.  But, there is no greater love than that bestowed on Klal Yisrael by HKB"H.

"From long ago, the Lord appeared to me [Rashi: ...and told me to say to the congregation of Israel]; With everlasting love have I loved you; therefore have I drawn you to Me with loving-kindness." (Yirmiyahu 31.2)

Scary events are looming on our horizon, but they have one purpose only - not to destroy us, but to drive us to teshuvah so that as many as possible can survive to live in the Days of Mashiach which are dawning even now.

At the heart of the sins of our ancestors was their lack of faith in HKB"H's love.  They accused Him of bringing them into the wilderness in order to kill them there.  They said their children were going to Eretz Yisrael to die.

Never, ever, ever allow such thoughts to cross your mind - that HKB"H has brought us back to Eretz Yisrael just to let our enemies overrun and destroy us.


Too many of us have become comfortable with the "status quo"; therefore, HKB"H must bring us to a situation where we will cry out for deliverance, just as we did in Egypt, and He will answer that cry, as He did then, by sending us a deliverer.

"Mashiach, when are you coming?"

"Today, if you will but heed my voice."

~ Wishing us all a very joyous TU b'Av ~

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post! Thank you.