(Much of the material in this section is adapted with permission from the Book of Our Heritage by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov.)"Tu B'Av" - The Fifteenth of Av
VIOLENCE: THE REACTION AND THE LESSON
by Rabbi Yossi Sarid
In This Article:
Yesterday, we commemorated and celebrated Tu B'Av - the
15th day of the month of Av. This day has become known, especially in modern Israel,
as the holiday of love. This is a nice name - but only if we understand the real
meaning of the word - if we understand what is true love, complete love.
Tu B'Av is the day of love between man and wife, the
love that brings to perfection. "Male and female He created them, and He
blessed them, and He called their name Adam (Man) (Gen. 5,2)." It is not
"people" who were created here, but "Adam" - the singular, perfect
form of mankind. We learn here the ideal form: when man and woman are together, in
total harmony, with true complementary and mutual love and cooperation.
But how can we learn what this relationship is?
The best example is the Song of Songs, the story of the complete love between the Jewish
People, and every single Jew thereof - and our Father in Heaven. Yom Kippur is the day of
unbounded love towards Hashem, through self-sacrifice and affliction of the soul, ceding
all our physical needs, in accordance with the commandment of the day. This love
that is based on giving ourselves totally to G-d is the essence of Yom HaKippurim.
Both Tu B'Av and Yom Kippur, then, are days of true love.
Our Sages discuss at length the events that occurred on
the 15th of Av, that caused this day to be registered as a day of joy in our
calendar. One of the reasons brought by the Talmud is that it was the day that the
Tribes of Israel were again permitted to intermarry with each other. Rav Yosef tells
us in the name of Rav Nachman that this occurred after the infamous incident of the
Concubine in Binyamin (Judges 19-21) - the terrible blot on our national history, that
which led to civil war and the near-total destruction of an entire tribe. It
occurred when the Jewish People in toto - every tribe, every village (except for the town
of Yavesh Gil'ad) - refused to accept a shocking act of senseless violence on the part of
members of the tribe of Binyamin, and made war on this tribe for its refusal to censor and
punish the perpetrators of the vile crime.
This week, the pictures of the two children and their
mother murdered by their father and husband screamed out at us from the front pages of the
newspapers. How many murders of this sort must we suffer? How much violence?
These are things that simply cannot be forgiven. From the story of the Concubine in
Binyamin we must learn that we simply may not pass over this type of occurrence. We
should close down the country! A society where things of this nature happen has no
right to exist! This issue must not be taken off the agenda, and the reasons for it
must be searched out and found - in the society, the education, and the life styles.
Rabbi Yossi Sarid - not Education Minister Yossi Sarid - is the head of the Mevaseret Zion Religious Council, and is one of the founders and teachers at the Mevaseret Zion Educational Center.