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Aug 14, 2008

the Jewish Valentines Day

This Shabbos is Tu B'Av - the 15th day of Av, which the Mishna describes as being of the happiest days of the year, for a number of reasons. In the days of yore, the maidens would prance in the fields and vineyards (how do you like that description?) while the young men would select their wife.

In modern day Israel, the day has become adopted as a Jewish form of Valentine's Day.

The funny thing is, despite the criticism some among the religious have for the secular having turned the day into a day of love and Hallmark greeting cards, other than making it into a Valentine's Day, there would be no modern day mention of Tu B'Av at all. We, the religious, do not celebrate it in any way other than by skipping tachanun during davening.

Why we have abandoned the old customs of celebrating Tu B'Av I do not know. Perhaps it is because in todays age of hyper-tznius, it just would not work in any way.

I think we have to thank the secular for keeping this holiday, in name at least, alive for us.


  1. the age of hyper-tznius... interesting... would be interested to hear an elaboration on that....

  2. Adderabba, i think this can be called the age of the hyper-pritzus, and therefore there is a need for rules and a takanon and that leads people who are not sensitive to the world of pritzus out there to think that this is an age of hyper tznius.

    To bring as a proof from far far out there -- I happened to be watching a youtube clip of game show bloopers last night. Quite funny I must admit (and clean for the most part). What struck me the most was that the contestants in the older games - like the old newlywed game - the ladies were dresses more tzanua than most frum ladies today. So refined. so covered. And thats the goyim, the ones that dont have any halachos of tninus etc. If you looks at a game show I highly doubt the contestants would be dressed in such a refined way -- bc this is the age of hyper pritzus.

  3. Agreed- kol hakavod for giving credit where it is due. There are many unique ways the secular Israelis contribute to jewish life, although it's difficult to appreciate it sometimes.

  4. Agreed- kol hakavod for giving credit where it is due. There are many unique ways the secular Israelis contribute to jewish life, although it's difficult to appreciate it sometimes.

  5. You are right about living in an age of "hyper-tznius", although it is probably more accurate to describe our age as one of "hyper-judgmental about tznius".

    We live in an age when adults can speak the most vile lashon hara about teenage girls whose socks are too short, and schools will throw out a child for talking to the opposite sex.

    There are many different views about the proper guidelines for tznius, but many in our society have become "kannoim" who will violate the most basic halachos bein odom l'chaveiro (not to mention common decency) in order to enforce a societal geder on (mostly) women.

    Elements of my chu'l mostly chareidi community are not that different than the thugs in RBS who beat up women for sitting at the wrong end of the bus. The only difference is that here they don't use physical violence, but they use their power in society (often through schools) to malign those who don't follow the strictest shita of the chareidi dress code.

  6. since you have advs. all over your blog these days, i figured you wouldn't mind if i put one in a comment.

    for a post on the multi-layered history and modern-day customs of tu be-av, see this post for my primer:

    Tu be-Av Primer (or the Jewish Valentine's Day)

    For the music of tu be-av, see here:

    Jewish Valentine's Day (Tu be-Av): Music and History

  7. hey, i've always thought that too. though the truth is, secular israelis celebrate both valentine's day in february and tu b'av now. but it's nice that they even notice.

    people can just inhale jewish culture around them often without realizing it...

  8. Instead of Valentine's Day, I always heard the comparison to a reverse-Sadie Hawkins Day

  9. See what Rav Ovadia says in the name of the Orhot Hayim here.

    והביא מרן שליט"א, מדברי ספר אורחות חיים שכתב, ואין לתמוה על זה, שאיך היה מנהג זה טוב בעיני החכמים, שדומה חס וחלילה כאילו בנות ישראל הפקר, אין זה תימה, כי בודאי שכל מי שהייתה ידו משגת להשיא את בתו למי שהגון לה, לא היה שולח את בתו לשם, אלא המנהג היה בשביל הבנות שאין יד אביהן משגת להשיאן, ואלמלא היו נוהגים כן היו יושבות עד שילבין שיער ראשן. (ומכאן תוכחת מגולה על הנוהגין כאילו בנות ישראל הפקר בחינם בדור יתום זה.)

  10. Well, I dressed in flowy white that Friday night.

    Side question--Considering that every Jew possesses a G-dly soul, can one really be SECULAR?

  11. sabra - good question. what would you recommend as a better term to use? Some people like the term "not yet religious", but I find that condescending.

  12. Not observant?

    Cuz really, that's the only diff.

  13. And hmmm, comment moderation...

  14. only moderation on old posts. trying to keep the comment spam to a minimum


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