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Parshat Vaetchanan

08/12/2022 02:19:12 PM


Rabbi Benjamin J. Samuels

Our Sages teach us at the end of Masekhet Ta’anit in the Talmud that the two most joyous days on the Jewish calendar are Tu b’Av (the 15th of Av - today!) and Yom Kippur. Tu B’Av celebrates human love; Yom Kippur, Divine love. The Midrash in Bereishit Rabbah teaches that when Hashem was about to create humanity, the angels started to debate. Justice and Truth said, “No way! Human beings will be inhumane, unjust, and deceitful.” Compassion and Kindness said, “But they will be capable of great altruism.” Both sets of angels were correct. There was no way to settle the argument. However, says the Midrash, while the angels were engrossed in their disputation, Hashem went ahead and created humanity. The idea here is that every act of creation begins in love and is powered by optimism. Love follows its own logic. Yom Kippur demonstrates God’s love for us as we are gifted a new start and a clean slate should we choose to recreate ourselves. Tu B’Av celebrates our capacity for human love and the synergistic creation of a whole greater than the human parts that contribute to it. This Tu B’Av/Shabbat Nachamu, let’s find the love within ourselves and prepare ourselves for the creation of a New Year just around the bend!

Shabbat Shalom, Rav Benjie

Wed, February 28 2024 19 Adar I 5784