Thought for Shabbat
“When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that’s Amore!” Did you see that full moon last night? It turns out it was about “amore;” today is Tu B’Av, the 15th Day of the Hebrew month of Av. Tu B’Av is the Jewish cognate of Valentine’s Day. According to tradition, this date was the beginning of the grape harvest that ended on Yom Kippur; on both these dates, the unmarried young women of Jerusalem would go out to the vineyards to dance. It thus became a day for matchmaking.
Today, the main way we observe Tu B’Av is that we do not recite Tachanun (the penitential prayers said at Shacharit and Mincha). In Israel, it is a day for gifts and romanticism for love partners.
Although the focus is on love between human beings, Judaism talks a great deal about the love relationship between the Jewish People and God. Traditionally, this is how the Song of Songs in interpreted; it is a book of love poems that highlight the love God has for us, and us for God. We are forever grateful for the love the Lord has shown us.
As we head into Shabbat on this Tu B’Av, let’s focus on our romantic partners and appreciate the ways they have impacted our lives and our hearts. Judaism emphasizes more what we do more than what we say or think, so use this as an opportunity to show your loved one how you feel. For those who do not have a partner, this is a great time to show friends, family and God how grateful we much we appreciate the relationship.
It is never too late to say, “I love you,” and it can never be said too often.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Tu B’Av!
Rabbi Michael Ungar