This being the second Shabbos of the shiva d’nechemta, the seven weeks of Hashem’s consoling us, it is fitting that we continue to talk about the almost-outlandish placement of what the Gemara describes as the wonderfully happy day of Tu B’Av in such close proximity to the horribly calamitous day of Tisha B’Av. We mentioned briefly the different suggestions of exactly which events occurred on Tu B’Av that make it such a fortuitous day, but we still need a common thread tying them all together.
Rabbeinu Machir, a rishon, uses the rather intriguing phrase, “For on this day Hashem has seen fit to gladden our hearts,” thus suggesting that the commonality is precisely that throughout the generations, Hashem has picked this particular day to have us be especially joyous! It is a day in which Hashem seems to be encouraging us to climb out the despair left in our psyche by the churban. And so perhaps it is by design that Tu B’Shvat falls during the shiva week of Tisha B’Av.
There’s some sort of statement there.
Rabbeinu Yonah writes in Sha’arei Teshuva (Sh’aar 2, paragraph 5): “And it is incumbent upon one who relies on Hashem to hope, to expect, that ultimately the tzaros he may be presently undergoing will, on the contrary, be the cause of great rejoicing, as the pasuk states (Micha 7:8): ‘Rejoice not over my downfall, my enemy, for as surely as I have fallen, I have arisen, and as I dwell in the darkness, Hashem is my Light.’ And Chazal elaborate and interpret the wording as follows: ‘If I would not have fallen, I never would have arisen, if I would not have dwelled in the darkness it would not now be light for me!’ ” This, then, is a principle which we can all relate to and be inspired by: “the darkness is the reason or the cause of the light.” The darkness becomes the catalyst, so to speak, for Hashem’s mercies to be aroused; the pasuk promises that Hashem’s mercies have never ceased, for it is precisely the “punishment” which gives us the path towards greater closeness to Him.
This then, could very well be the point of Tu B’Av occurring as it does; davka within the week of Tisha B’Av does Hashem reveal His mercies to us, to have us rejoice and celebrate.
We know that in bentching, the fourth brachah, hatov vehameitiv was established in appreciation of the dead bodies of Beitar being allowed to be buried. Now, we have just thanked Hashem for our food and sustenance, for Eretz Yisrael, and for the Beis Hamikdash and malchus Beis Dovid. It seems rather incongruous to say, let’s add a brachah for the bodies in Beitar. Especially since there are actually many, many minor (and major) “miracles” which had happened to our people (chronicled in Megilas Ta’anis). What is so absolutely unique about this event? I would suggest that this is a blatant example through which we see that despite a churban, the fall of Beitar, and a further churban (that their dead lay strewn about), Hashem’s mercies shone, exhibiting His rachamim from the depths of that churban! And it is important that we remember this; as we pray for the restoration of the Beis Hamikdash and malchus Dovid, we recall that amidst the turbulence we were shown how “the chasadim G-d have never ceased, for his mercy never stops” (Eichah 3:22). This, then, is a source of tremendous comfort.
And so perhaps Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur have much, much more to do with each other than we’ve ever realized! For we confront our sins on Yom Kippur and confess them. And there is also great worry: will Hashem accept us back with His open arms, in love?And we answer, yes, of course! It is a yom selichah and mechilah, Hashem lovingly forgives and restores… Yes, you have made an eigel hazahav, but there will be a second set of luchos, and a Mishkan, and I will come to dwell amongst you. What a cause for rejoicing! And analogous to that is the fifteenth of Av, when Hashem appears, as it were, after the churban, and says, “I have not forgotten you!”
And that is the reason for the conclusion of the Mishnah, “Go out O daughters of Zion… on His wedding day (the day of the giving of the Torah) and on the day of His heart’s rejoicing (this refers to the Beis Hamikdash).” The giving of the Torah would certainly be the motif of Yom Kippur, as the luchos shniyos were given then. But now we can also understand the reference to the Beis Hamikdash and the place that that other Yom Tov, Tu B’Shvat, fills: Yes! There will be once again be a rebuilding of a Beis Hamikdash, despite what you may see in front of you now… and it is that message which produces such inordinate joy!
This might also help us to understand the manifestation of picking out a shidduch on these days. On Yom Kippur?! And mah pit’om Av 15?
When a person picks a partner in life, one has to be pretty sure about where he, himself — or she, herself — is headed, and one’s perception of oneself. Yom Kippur, then, is probably the best time to chart one’s future course in life. Which is the inner essence of Tu B’Av — renewal, faith, hope, and trust in the Almighty.