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Tu B'Av: The History Print E-mail

Olive TreeRabban Shimon ben Gamliel taught: “Israel had no days as festive as the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, when the maidens of Jerusalem would go out dressed in white borrowed garments (so as not to embarrass one who had no clothes of her own). The maidens of Jerusalem would go out and dance in the vineyards, singing: “Young man, raise your eyes and see what you choose for yourself. (Ta’anit 26b) 

Ta’anit 30b
1) This was the day that the tribes were permitted to intermarry.
The women of the generation that entered Israel under the leadership of Joshua, who had inherited their father’s portion of land in Israel, were prohibited from marrying out of her tribe. This was to prevent her property being transferred to her husband’s tribe upon her death.
This had the effect of creating a strong sense of separate tribes, and prevented the people from uniting as a nation. When the Sages ruled that the Torah law only applied to the first generation that entered Israel, people developed a stronger sense of a united nation.

2) This was the day that the tribe of Benjamin was permitted to marry into the congregation of Israel.
After the incident of the Concubine of Givah (Judges 19-20) the Jews swore not to give their daughters in marriage to the few surviving members of the tribe of Benjamin. The next generation was released from this oath on the 15th of Av. 

3) So long as those destined to die out in the desert were not finished dying, there was no Divine communication with Moses.
The Divine communication began again on the 15th of Av.

4) It is the day on which Hoshea ben Elah, the last king of the Northern Kingdom of the Ten Tribes, removed the sentries the Yeravam ben Nevat has stationed on the roads leading to Jerusalem to prevent Jews from ascending to the Temple on the pilgrimage festivals.

5) It was the day on which the slain Jews of Beitar were afforded burial. The Sages added the fourth blessing of Grace After Meals – Who is Good and Who confers good – to acknowledge that the bodies did not decay and that the bodies were finally afforded burial.

6) The 15th of Av was the day that they stopped felling trees for the Altar pyre.

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