This is one of those Shabbats when the date, the season, and the yearly cycle of Torah reading coalesce. Following Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem and is considered the saddest day of the year, we begin seven weekly readings of consolation, with this Friday beginning Shabbat Nachamu. It is a period of comfort and hope that all will be restored as we begin the work of repair leading to Rosh Hashanah.
Just as Tisha B’Av is the saddest day of the Hebrew calendar, so are Tu B’Av, or the day of love, and Yom Kippur considered the happiest. A long-standing tradition in ancient Judea tells of the fifteenth of the summer month of Av when young Jewish men and women dressed in white would go out and dance in together in the vineyards.
In this context, in this season of return and repair, love, whether it’s between spouses and friends or among a community, is not a thing of Hollywood dreams. It is understood to be more comprehensive. An embrace of all creation and all creatures. It is the interweaving of beings. It is constant and consistent. It is an acknowledgement that the other is part of us.
May this Shabbat of Tu B’Av be one of love and comfort, for oneself, for each other, and for us all.
Rabbi Jay Strear
President & CEO
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Click here to read a French-Hebrew love story.