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Endless Hope: A Message for Tu B’Av

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Tu B’Av is a hopeful reminder that that which is broken might be repaired.

The post Endless Hope: A Message for Tu B’Av appeared first on Jewish Journal.

If you look for it, you can always find something to be distressed about. There is no shortage of tzuris: the Delta variant, antisemitism, the demonization of Israel through ice cream boycotts, wild fires raging out of control—it seems endless.

If you look for it, you can always find something to celebrate as well. There is no shortage of hope and joy: marriages, new babies, medical breakthroughs. There is no end to these things, either.

The juxtaposition of sorrow and celebration is keenly felt at this time in the Jewish calendar. Last Sunday, on the 9th of Av, we remembered the destruction of the first and second temples and other tragedies that befell our people through the centuries. This Shabbat, we celebrate Tu B’Av (the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av).

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: “There were no days as joyous for the Jewish people as the fifteenth of Av.”

The Talmud gives several historical reasons for the celebration. The one I like best for this moment is that on Tu B’Av the various tribes of Israel were permitted to marry one another. In Biblical times, you had to stay within your own tribe to ensure that landholdings remained consistent. On Tu B’Av an exception was made.

But at some point in our people’s past, this custom was set aside and we were at last permitted to marry from any tribe of Israel. So in a deep way, Tu B’Av is really a celebration of Jewish unity, of Jewish Peoplehood. No matter which tribe we descend from, no matter where our ancestors wandered throughout the Diaspora, no matter our political inclinations, gender or sexuality, we are bigger than our tribe—we are part of a People.

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This is worth celebrating as Jews and, more universally, as members of the human family. We are living at a time when individuals around the world are feeling more isolated and lonelier than ever before. As hyper connected as we are, in some ways, we’ve never felt more alone. I was out walking this morning and virtually every person I passed by on the street was looking down at their phone. Tu B’Av celebrates not just two people from different tribes finding one another and building a life together but, more broadly, the possibility of community itself.

Tu B’Av celebrates not just two people from different tribes finding one another and building a life together but, more broadly, the possibility of community itself.

And even more expansively, Tu B’Av is a hopeful reminder that that which is broken might be repaired. This past Sunday, on Tisha B’Av, we lamented the destruction caused by sina (hatred). On Tu B’Av, we celebrate the possibility of ahava (love). We celebrate hope, community, friendship and tikkun.

There’s plenty of tzuris in our world that can lead to sorrow, anger or despair. But there’s plenty to celebrate as well. The rabbis of the Talmud understood this, which is part of the lesson of the proximity of these two days, one filled with sorrow and one filled with joy.

May this Tu B’Av be a time of gladness and may it serve as a hopeful reminder that in the face of brokenness and despair, we can be the ones to bring healing, unity and love.

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Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback is the Senior Rabbi of Stephen Wise Temple in Los Angeles, California.

The post Endless Hope: A Message for Tu B’Av appeared first on Jewish Journal.

Source: Jewish Journal https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/338943/endless-hope-a-message-for-tu-bav/

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