Today, Wednesday July 28, is the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Av (called in Hebrew "Tu B'AV"). According to Jewish tradition, when the Holy Temple stood, the two happiest days of the year were Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and today, the fifteenth day of Av.
The Talmud ennumerates a number of events which transpired on this day throughout history. Among them:
It was on this day, after entering into the Promised Land, that the tribes of Israel were permitted to marry into each other...for during all the years of their desert wanderings, each tribe was permitted to marry only within its own ranks.
It was on this day that the tribe of Benjamin was reinstated into the ranks of Israel.
It was on this day that the generation of the desert, which was condemned to die in the desert before the children of Israel could enter into the Land, stopped dying in the last year. During all those years that the decree was in effect, Moses did not receive the spirit of prophecy. But on this day, the fifteenth of Av, as soon as the decree was finished, G-d once again spoke with Moses.
There are many other details recounted in the traditional sources about this special day. In the time of the Holy Temple, the daughters of Jerusalem would all go out to dance in the vineyards around Jerusalem on this day, each girl dressed in a borrowed gown of simple white. They would borrow dresses from one another, so as not to embarrass the poor among them, and so all would be equal.
Indeed, one of the major themes of the holiday of Tu B'Av is unity amongst the Jewish people. This day also marks the conclusion of the cycle of retribution experienced during Tammuz and the first part of Av, and begins the new cycle of renewal, consolation and repentance, leading towards the High Holy Days. A tradition is also recorded that there is a direct connection between this day, and the future building of the Third Temple....
May we all merit renewal, consolation, and building of the Holy Temple...for the honor of the Holy One, blessed be He.
Joy and Blessings to All
Rabbi Chaim Richman