LTTN med xp logo The Happiest Day of the Year

August 16, 2000

© 2000 Light to the Nations, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved
Today is “Tu B’Av,” the 15th day of Av. According to Jewish tradition, in the days of the Holy Temple, the two happiest days of the year were Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and today, the 15th day of the month of Av.
 
The special character of this day, as reflected upon by the traditional sources, is unparalleled in the Hebrew calendar. Many intertwined events occurred on this day; they are all connected at their spiritual root. Today is the day, after entering into the Land of Israel, that the tribes of Israel were permitted to marry each other. It is also the day when the generation of the desert, condemned to die on account of the spies’ evil report, stopped dying in the last year. It was on that same day that the spirit of prophecy returned to Moses.
 
It is a unique day of spiritual yearning and promise; of Divine assurance and consolation; of the unity of all Israel…but most of all, it is a day focused upon the singular, eternal, and unconditional love that G-d has for the Jewish people…a love that cannot be changed or flawed. This Divine love is not dependant on any other factor, other than the fact that Israel is His people…not matter what happens, and no matter what they have done.
 
A tradition based on mystical knowledge also teaches that there is a direct connection between this day, the 15th of Av, and the future building of the Third Temple. For this is the day which expresses G-d’s unequivocal love and compassion for Israel, and that love will be ultimately and perfectly manifested through the rebuilding of the Holy Temple and the resting of the Divine Presence in Israel’s midst…for the benefit of the entire world.
 
Even in our time today, while the Temple has not yet been rebuilt, this is traditionally a day of brides and grooms in Israel…a day of betrothals, marriages and expressions of love. The Mishna states that in Temple times, the daughters of Jerusalem, dressed in borrowed white gowns, would all go out today to dance in the vineyards. But these customs are only a symbol of Israel’s true great love that shines forth on this day. For all this overwhelming spiritual energy reverberates through the air today…and Israel, like a shy and blushing bride, can feel it. And Israel knows that no matter how she is made to feel, and no matter what has transpired, and no matter how much time has passed, nothing can ever separate her from her true love, who waits patiently. “Behold, He stands behind our wall, watching from the windows, peering out from the lattice-work…” (Song of Songs 2:9). “For a small moment have I forsaken you…but with great mercies will I gather you. In the overflowing of wrath I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting faithful love will I have mercy on you, says your redeemer, the L-rd” (Isaiah 54).
 
How can G-d tell us, after two thousand years of exile, that He left us only for “a small moment?”
 
Because when that great moment of Redemption arrives, and the truth of that eternal love becomes clear for all to see…Israel will instantly forget all her long exile and travail. It will all seem like a moment.
 
Tu B’Av is the very essence of what it means to be a Jew. This is the true Jewish experience in its purest form. Last week we mourned the destruction of the Holy Temple. Today we are dancing and celebrating the potential for its immediate restoration. For with G-d anything is possible, anytime and anywhere, and He does not go back on His word. “For what nation is there so great, that has G-d so near to them, as the L-rd our G-d is in all things that we call upon Him for?” (Deut. 4:7)
 
Those words are from the Torah portion of last Shabbat, the “Sabbath of Consolation.” We also read these words from Isaiah (ch. 40):
 
“Comfort My people, comfort My people, says your G-d. Console Jerusalem and cry to her that her transgression is appeased… You that bring good tidings to Zion, get yourself up into the high mountain; You that bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength; Lift it up, be not afraid -- Say to the cities of Judah, ‘behold your G-d!’”
 
Joy and blessings to all from Jerusalem, today, the happiest day of the year… Blessings for the love of bride and groom, for the love of Israel and her G-d, and for the immediate rebuilding of the Holy Temple.

Rabbi Chaim Richman

The Temple Institute
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem Israel