Festival of Love

The Mishnah teaches us that “There were no holidays so joyous for the Jewish People as the Fifteenth of Av and Yom HaKippurim, for on those days, the daughters of Jerusalem would go out dressed in borrowed white clothing (so that they would all look the same)…What did they say? Young man, lift up your eyes and choose (your wife) wisely. Don’t look only at physical beauty – look rather at the family – For charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain. A God – fearing woman is the one to be praised'”

In ancient times, the Festival of Tu b’Av (15th Av) was a great matchmaking festival. In modern times – and especially in Israel – we have turned it into a kind of Jewish St. Valentine’s Day. And, as has happened with the latter, Tu b’Av has become trivialised, commercialised and vulgarised to the point where what was once a celebration of love has degenerated into a celebration of sex. What are the presents we are exhorted to bestow upon our partners nowadays? Instead of roses and chocolate hearts  – sexy lingerie. We no longer aim for romance. Instead, everything is geared to becoming “sexy”. In short – we have become a generation for whom Love means nothing other than Sex. Even the language of love has become debased. We no longer speak of “making love”. Instead, we “have sex”. And only a few days ago, a judge was called upon to rule whether or not the use of a certain slang word, derived from the Arabic term for the female genitalia and commonly used to describe a sexually attractive woman, constituted sexual harassment. To the horror of feminists, the judge ruled that the word (which, alas, is even used by women about other women), can sometimes be seen as a compliment. How far have we fallen? This – in the land where a man once said to the woman he loved: “Behold, thou art fair, my love…thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from Mount Gilead…Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my bride; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes…A garden enclosed is my sister, my bride; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed…”

Food for thought, isn’t it?

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About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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8 Responses to Festival of Love

  1. David Kessler says:

    Thy breasts are like two young roes…

  2. summerrdotcodotuk says:

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