Sunday, August 14, 2011
Earlier this month we discussed how the character of Av is defined by the personality of Aharon haKohen, whose yahrzeit and birthday (see Kid. 38) are on Rosh Chodesh Av. Maharal (in Ohr Chadash) explains that the 15th of any month is the point at which the character of the month is expressed most fully (actually the Maharal focuses on the 14th and uses his yesod to explain the date of Purim; be that as it may, the 15th is still significant as the point immediately after the character of the month has attained fullest expression). Aharon was a paragon of chessed; he was oheiv shalom v'rodef shalom. For this reason, the 15th of Av, the holiday of Tu b'Av, is a date replete with shalom and chessed. On this day the ban instituted because of the pilegesh b'Givah incident prohibiting sheivet Binyamin from intermarrying with other tribes was lifted and peace between the tribes was restored. On this day the ban against women of the dor hamidbar who were yorshos intermarrying with other tribes was lifted. This day was the day (as described in the Mishna in Ta'anis, see my wife's posts on the topic here) that women would go out to the vineyards to dance and choose their husbands. The gemara writes that there is an obligation to increase Torah study at night from the 15th of Av onward, as the nights grow longer. The Koshiglover explains the reason is because Torah brings peace and harmony into the world -- "talmidei chachamim marbim shalom ba'olam." Tu b'Av marks the completion of our "shiva week" for churban habayis that began on 9Av (see R' Tzadok haKohen). What better way to end the mourning caused by sinas chinam than to rededicate and celebrate shalom v'rei'us.