Friday, August 12, 2011

Yom Kippur in August?

Here we are, in the deepest part of the summer, when all we NHs (Northern Hemispherites) want to do is relax for a few minutes.

Keep your feet up. I don't want to spoil the moment.

But I'm going to make a radical proposal.

It begins with a story.

At my first summer job as a young adult there was a guy who invited everyone in the office to his "Xmas in July" party.

What made it Xmas-y was that everyone brought a present to give to a random person.

So instead of a bunch of people drinking beer together on a summer afternoon, it was a bunch of people drinking beer and exchanging presents on a summer afternoon.

As I grew older and wiser (after all, I did learn to drink wine instead of beer!) I have learned an ancient piece of Jewish wisdom that for some reason has little cache, even in the most traditional Jewish families and communities.

It's called "Tu B'Av".

No, not Tu Bishvat

No, not Tisha B'Av

Tu B'Av.

"Tu" is the number 15. Av is the month of Av, which corresponds to the constellation Leo, the lion.

This coming Sunday night will be the full moon of the lion. (Don't think it's a random coincidence that Apple released the "Lion" OS this month.)

Tu is spelled "tet-vav" which are the first two letters of "tov" (good). What is needed to turn "tu" into "tov"?

A: the letter "bet", which is...

- the number two, i.e., a relationship
- a house or home (bayit), i.e., harmony

I'm not inventing this. In ancient times, Tu B'Av was celebrated as a day of friendship and love, "the most joyous" holiday (Mishna Ta'anit 4:8).

What happened to it?

Well, you know, destruction, exile, a few holocausts....

But is time we brought it back?

You know how many people try to make amends with family, friends and adversaries before Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur?

Why wait until then? The most auspicious time to heal our relationships and this troubled world is this Sunday night through Monday.

Here is my challenge for you -

1. Try to make-nice this Tu B'Av with everyone you know.
2. Choose a Jewish single over 30 who hasn't yet found Mr. or Mrs. Right and make a commitment to help him or her get married in the next 12 months. Commit to making this goal a priority in your life.
3. Share to this blog to 15 ("tu") people. Let's start a viral campaign to renew Tu B'Av as a day of friendship and love and get a head start on the High Holidays.

"May you be inscribed and sealed for goodness."

Shabbat Shalom

PS - What better way to show someone you care than sending them the amazing Jewish iphone/ipad app?
PPS - Another way to show you care: print this blog and get a discussion going at your dinner table.
PPPS - Our kids' books site now has great school supplies! Browse from the comfort of your home and support JSL while you shop.
PPPPS - Our friend Rabbi Tzvi has a funky new book! Show him you love him by getting it here.

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