This Shabbat is the 15th of Av- numerically referred to as -טו ב”אב-TuBe’Av. It is known as the Holy Day of Love. It marks the emergence from Tisha Be’av -the ninth of Av- the day of destruction and from the period of negative history that marks the three week period between Tammuz 17 and Av 9.
Why is this day the Holy Day of Love?
Sefer Yetzira-the foundational book of Kabbalah explains that each month of the Israelite calendar has a unique permutation of the four letter Divine Name – “י-ה-ו-ה”-. YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH.
The hassidic rebbe- the ‘Bnai Issachar’ (1793-1841) explains that the 15th of Av is the moment of realignment of the Divine Name after a 6 week period of dissonance.
This is because the permutation of the Divine Name in Tammuz is “ה-ו-ה-י” –HEH-VAV-HEY-YUD-. The Divine Name is backwards and negative destructive energy rules.
The Av permutation is “ה-ו-י-ה”-HEH-VAV-YUD-HEH.
He notes that the first two weeks of the month the Divine Name continues backwards- “ה-ו” –VAV-HEH- . The negative energy still dominates. Hence all the destructiveness culminating in the 9th of Av.
On the 15th of the month it realigns entering “י-ה” –YUD-HEH.
The fifteenth of Av is thus the beginning of the realignment and marks a significant turning point in our calendar.
Historically, this deep realignment manifested as a time of great celebration. According to the Mishna Tu B’Av was a joyous holiday in the days of the Temple of Jerusalem, marking the beginning of the grape harvest. Yom Kippur marked the end of the grape harvest.
On both dates, the unmarried girls of Jerusalem dressed in white garments, and went out to dance in the vineyards: “And what would they say? “Young man, raise your eyes and see which you select for yourself….” (Babylonian Talmud, TractateTa’anit- 30b-31a) This was the holy day to meet your love match.
In honor of this holy day of love, it is appropriate to learn some Torah of the Rebbe of Love, Rabbi Avraham Itzchak HaCohen Kook TZ’L.
As the spiritual leader of the return to Israel he gave expression to the transformation from the period of the ‘Torah of ‘Yirah-Awe-Fear’ that characterized our relationship to the Divine Presence during our long exile from Israel. He explained and demonstrated that the return to Israel is the return to the ‘Torah of Love’.
In his book “Midot HaRayah” on moral principles and human behavior, he speaks about the central importance of love:
“The heart must be filled with love for all.
The love of all creation comes first, then comes the love for all humankind, and then follows the love for the people of Israel…
All these loves are to be expressed in practical action-by pursuing the welfare of those we are bidden to love and to seek their advancement…..
The love for people must be alive in heart and soul, a love for all people and a love for all nations, expressing itself in a desire for their spiritual and material improvement…
The whole Torah, its moral teachings, the commandments, the good deeds and the studies have as their objective to remove the roadblocks, so that universal love can spread and extend to all realms of life.”
Rav Kook as the ‘poet of love’ gave poetic expression to his highest spiritual illuminations. He gives this full expression in this poem:
“Shirati Yafati-My Song, My Beauty”.
“My song, my beauty,
Beloved of my youth,
My heart was stirred
In the beauty of your eyes.
You approached to commune
On mountains of fragrance,
And my spirit rose
At the sound of your footsteps.
Without pleasure and light,
You hid from me,
And your footsteps disappeared.
My loving heart
Withered like a leaf
Choking in agony,
Yearning for a vision of your being.
My soul was mute
From whence your forgot me,
And my songs of life
Were strangled in silence.
Return my beloved
To your abandoned lover,
In the light of your eyes
Illuminate my darkness.
A sleeping spark of the Divine
And my desolate heart
Is filled with the spirit of life.
My violin, my beauty,
My spirit awakens,
As I speak of the heights
That fill my heart.
I will sing to life,
To Divinity and humankind,
To the heavens and the stars,
To the fields and meadows.
To every ray of life,
Hidden in every corner,
To every spark of courage
Stored in every soul.
Bring me your beauty
After this long separation,
Return to me your joy,
My beauty, my song.”
May all the איבה-hatred in the world turn to אהבה-love.
TuBe Av Sameach-A Joyous Holy Day of Love.
Prepared by Rabbi Itzchak Evan-Shayish (Marmorstein). firstname.lastname@example.org, www.haorot.com