Monday, August 3, 2009

Tu B’Av (The Fifteenth of Av)

Forgiveness After The Destruction

“Never were there such days of celebration as Tu B’Av (the fifteenth of Av) and Yom Kippur” [Last Mishnah of the fourth chapter of Ta’anis].

Tu B’Av starts the “sweetening” and tikkun/rectification of the sin of the spies [who had spoken badly about the land of Israel, causing “a wailing for generations” on Tisha B’Av (the ninth of Av].

Death was decreed on the generation of the wilderness, after the sin of the spies. Chazal tell us that every year, many people would expire on the night of Tisha B’Av. However, on Tu B’Av, in the last year, it became clear that the deaths had stopped. This relates to Yom Kippur, in that we request forgiveness at that time for the sin of the spies that caused the destruction of the Temple on Tisha B’Av, around which all sin revolves. Thus the Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur are connected through the tikkun of the sin of the spies and the generation of the wilderness that caused the destruction of the Temple.

The Mishnah above then concludes: “…on the day of his wedding - that is the giving of the Torah, and on the day of his heart’s happiness - that is the building of the Temple”.

For the main anguish of the Temple’s destruction arises from the inability to connect together all the spiritual worlds – the blemish and separation from holiness that results from all sin. But Torah, which relates to “the day of his wedding” and “the building of the Temple”, is a tikkun for this since it forges a link between the upper and lower spiritual worlds. This is the main purpose of Torah: To create for us, with our performance of every single mitzvah in this physical world, the ability to be attached to the higher world and draw down the Divine Presence. Every mitzvah creates this unification. This relates to the Temple – the main place for the Torah, as it states “The Torah emanates from Zion (i.e. the Temple)” [Isaiah 51:4]; the main incorporation of the spiritual worlds existing in the Temple. All this tikkun is drawn from Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur – the start of the tikkun of the sin of the spies that caused the destruction. It is at that time that there begins a start in a certain aspect of “dedication of the Temple”, which is the tikkun.

This also connects to a statement in the Gemara of Ta’anis (31a). There it states that permission was granted to bury the slain of the city of Beitar on Tu B’Av. This prompted Chazal to institute the fourth blessing of ha’tov ve’meitiv that praises G-d, in the birchas ha’mazon/Grace after meals. It is significant that this took place on the Tu B’Av. For this is the day that signaled the halt in the death of the generation of the wilderness that had caused the destruction of the Temple, the subsequent separation of spiritual worlds that impeded the ability to draw on he’aras ha’ratzon/”the illumination of desire” when eating.

Therefore Hashem caused events to transpire on Tu B’Av, when the tikkun of the generation of the wilderness began. On that date permission was granted to bury the slain of Beitar, prompting the institution of the blessing ha’tov ve’meitiv in birchas ha’mazon that corresponds to the drawing of the he’aras ha’ratzon at the time of eating [discussed elsewhere, in 6:72]. For he’aras ha’ratzon is drawn from the unification of the spiritual worlds that occurs through the aspect of dedication of the Temple that started on Tu B’Av, related to Yom Kippur and the tikkun of both the spies and generation of the wilderness that had caused the Temple’s destruction.

Thus, on Tu B’Av – the date when the generation of the wilderness ceased to die – there starts a certain spiritual “flashing” of the dedication of the Temple, effecting a drawing of he’aras ha’ratzon. This corresponds to the blessing of ha’tov ve’meitiv that was instituted when permission was granted to bury the slain of Beitar. Thus, permission was granted specifically on Tu B’Av, since everything is one concept.

If you learn well 6:72 above regarding the connection of ha’tov ve’meitiv to the slain of Beitar, you will more deeply appreciate Hashem’s wonders that for this reason permission was given for burial on Tu B’Av – for that was the starting date for the tikkun of the sin of the spies, through which we merit the dedication of the Temple and the subsequent attainment of he’aras ha’ratzon.

Orach Chaim Hilchos NetilasYadayim 6:83