Devar Torah - V’Eschanan

Friday, 16 August, 2019 - 3:00 pm

The Gemorah at the end of Taanis states that Tu b'Av and Yom HaKippurim are the most joyous Yomim Tovim for the Jewish people. 
The Gemorah lists the following reasons: 
1. The Jewish People stopped dying in the Midbar. Tosfos explains that every year at Tisha b'Av, an announcement was made that each person should dig a grave and then to sleep in it that night. Those who did not rise the next morning were buried in their grave. Those who rose from their grave merited at least another year of life. The final year in the Midbar on Tisha b'Av, every person rose from their grave, not even one had died. Because they thought that perhaps they had erred in their calculation of the date, they decided to sleep in their graves for the next four nights. Finally, when the full moon arrived they realized that the decree had been nullified, that they would all live. This was the first year the Jewish People celebrated Tu b'Av.
2. The Romans permitted burial to the the Jews of Betar. The Jews that were killed during the rebellion of Barto that led to the destruction of Betar on Tisha b’Av, were allowed burial on the day of Tu b’Av. This event brought closure to the destruction of the city. At that time, the Sanhedrin added a fourth bracha to Birchas Hamazon, “HaTov VeHameitiv”. This was instituted to express gratitude toward Hashem for these Jews being brought to burial, and that their corpses had not decayed all the years that they had remained unburied.
3. Intertribal marriages were allowed. Moshe had decreed that women should only marry within their own tribe. This was to avoid the transfer of ownership from the original tribal portions given during the initial division of the land. This decree began when the uncles of the daughters of Tzlofchad complained after Hashem told Moshe to give the daughters of Tzlofchad the portion of their father in Eretz Yisroel. Their complaint was that if the daughters would wed someone from another shevet that land would be transferred away from the tribe of Menashe to the tribe of whomever they married. This practice was followed for many years. On Tu b'Av the Sanhedrin in Eretz Yisroel permitted marriages between men and women of any shevet. It was understood that the original prohibition was only intended for the generation entering Eretz Yisroel.
4. King Hoshea permitted the pilgrimage of Jews to Yerushalayim. Earlier, Yeravam had made a blockade to keep the tribes of the north from going to Yerushayim for the Shalosh Regalim. He feared that going to Yerushalayim might lead to rebellion against him and joining the Kingdom of Yehudah under the leadership of Rechavam, the son of Shlomo Hamelech. King Hoshea removed the blockade allowing the Jews of the north to travel up to Yerushalayim for Yom Tov.
5. The completion of wood cutting for the mizbeach. The fires that burned on the mizbeach required wood that did not have worm infestation. The kohanim checked each piece to see if it was fit for use. The cutting of wood for the mizbeach ended each year on the fifteenth day of Av because the sun begins to lose its summer intensity. Therefore the wood after that time does not thoroughly dry allowing for worm infestation.
6. Shevet Binyomin was re allowed to marry with other shevotim. The other Shevotim had previously made an oath stating that their daughters would not marry into Shevet Binyomin. This occurred in the aftermath of a large war waged against Shevet Binyomin by the other Shevatim as is explained in Sefer Shoftim. On Tu b’Av permission was given that girls would be able to marry into the tribe of Binyamin. This saved Shevet Binyomin from extinction. As a result, the achdus and ahavas Yisroel among the shevotim was strengthened.
7. Many shidduchim were made on this day when the young women would go and dance in the vineyards on Tu b’Av. These young women would borrow someone else’s dress to go to the fields on Tu b’Av. No one used her own dress. The purpose of this custom of borrowing was to prevent any of the women feeling shame if she did not have her own clothing. The Gemorah explains that the daughter of the king would borrow from the daughter of the Kohen Gadol who in turn would borrow from the daughter of the deputy Kohen Gadol. All of this was instituted so that a poor girl who had no nice garment of her own would be able to borrow a dress to go out on a date without embarrassment.
The Rebbe explains that the greatness of Tu b’Av is in how it represents nullification of Tisha b’Av. From the first point we see how Tu b’Av revealed that Tisha b’Av is no longer a day of mourning. The Jews of the Midbar realized that the decree of Tisha b’Av was annulled. Not that they stopped dying altogether, but that it revealed to them that the decree of Tisha B’Av is no longer in effect. 
The fact that men and women of any shevet were permitted to marry and that Shevet Binyomin was fully included among Bnei Yisroel both demonstrate unity. King Hoshea as well brought unity where there had been division for hundreds of years between the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel.
With regard to wood for the mizbeach we know that the woodcutters would work in the heat of summer cutting wood. They did not know who, in the end would use the wood they cut or what sort of korban it would burn. The person who brought it to the Chamber of Wood did not know who would use it as the one for whom it was used did not know who brought it. This represents the highest level of tzedakah. Additionally, the sun became weaker. This represents the solar calendar which is in use by non-Jews. The weakening of the sun after Tu b'Av represents the weakening of the goyim (see HaYom Yom on 15 Av). 
The second Bais Hamikdosh was destroyed because of sinas chinam. Tu b’Av is the cure. Tu b’Av shows ahavas Yisroel and achdus Yisroel; that in truth there is no division between one Jew and another.
The daughter of the king might have said that she would give ten dresses to tzedekah for the daughters of the poor. This was not the practice. Each girl had to wear someone else’s dress and feel uncomfortable. This was for the sake of another Jewish girl, one she probably never met, never went to school with, and who was poor, that she should not be ashamed to knock on someone’s door to borrow a dress. To have discomfort just so another Jew not be ashamed is the highest level of tzedakah. This is true ahavas and achdus Yisroel.

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