Tu B’Av 5771 – August 15, 2011

Posted: August 14, 2011 in Holidays- Holy Days

The Mishnah tells us that: “No days were as festive for Israel as the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur.”  Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) symbolizes God’s forgiveness for the Golden Calf and Tu B’Av symbolizes God’s forgiveness for the unbelief of the 10 spies culminating the spread of fear and unbelief that kept the nation of Israel from entering into the Promised Land for 40 years.

The 9th of the Hebrew month of Av is the lowest point in month and the 15th of Av is the highest. Both have historical meanings that carry through to this day. This day has become known as the “Jewish Valentine’s Day“, when unmarried women would become betrothed.

There are multiple negative historical events that have followed the cycle on Tisha B’ Av (9th of Av) which began with the nation of Israel choosing to follow the negative report of 10 of the 12 spies coming out of the Promised Land. There are five major historical events associated with Tu B’ Av (15th of Av).

  1. End of the Wilderness deaths- 40 years following God’s decree that those who were 20 years of age and above ended. History teaches that each year on the 9th of Av all those who had been 20 or above would dig graves and lay in those graves on that day. The next morning those who were still alive would get out of the grave and know they had at least another year of life in the Wilderness. On the 40th year no one died. They thought they had the date wrong so they kept changing the date and by Tu B’Av they realized all was forgiven and they could not enter the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership.
  2. This was first precedent of equal rights for women in the Bible. The daughters of  Manesseh’s lineage dared to believe God for a new thing, land given to women. (Numbers 27:1-11 & Numbers 36) Their father Zelophehad died in the wilderness, but not because of his sins- his daughters made sure it was on the record that he did not side with Korah. These women were pushers, not quitters, “Lord I want the blessing! I want it in my body, I want it in my spirit, I want it financially, I want to be blessed in my ministry, I want it for my family, I want my blessing!”  All 5 daughters manifest a balance between the spirit of confrontation and a spirit of cooperation.
  3. Benjamin’s Tribe allowed to continue– Following the consequences of the sins of the perverted men from Tribe of Benjamin as recorded in Judges 19-21, only 600 males from the Tribe of Benjamin remained. The other 11 Tribes had taken an oath not to allow marriage from their tribe and now there was great mourning realizing Benjamin’s tribe would cease. On the 9th of Av they allowed the 600 males who were left were allowed to snatch virgins during an annual dance, so that the vow would not be violated and the tribe of Benjamin would continue.
  4. Wood for the 2nd Temple – Following the restoration of the Second Temple, wood was needed for the Temple altar and none was available near Jerusalem. Brave men were sent out to bring satisfactory wood before winter set in and the dead line to have the wood in the Temple was Tu B’ Av.
  5. Burials allowed during Bar Kochba Revolt, 132 AD– The Hebrew custom for burial was to bury the same day as the death so the bodies could not begin to decompose.   In 135 AD, the army besieged Bethar and on  the 9th of Av, the Jewish fast day commemorating the destruction of the first  and second Holy Temples, the walls of Bethar fell. After a fierce battle,  every Jew in Bethar was killed. Six days passed before the Romans allowed the  Jews to bury their dead.  This was a double miracle, in that, first, the Romans finally gave permission for the burial, and, second, in spite of the long period of time that had elapsed, the bodies had not decomposed. The permission was granted on Tu B’Av.

Let the Bride dance before her King!

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