If you ask a secular Israel on the street what is Tu B’av (a mini-holiday which falls on Aug 3, 2012), he will inevitably answer, “The Holiday of Love.” And, in fact, there is an aspect of love in the holiday, because it was today that the tribe of Binyamin, some 2900 years ago, was allowed entry back into the Jewish People in an unusual, mass-engagement ceremony.
The bachelors of Binyamin hid in the vineyards of the town of Shiloh, and as the young maidens of Israel came out to dance in the vineyards, each man came out of hiding and selected for himself a bride.
This historic event, which saved the tribe of Binyamin from extinction, Israelis today call this holiday the holiday of love.
The Talmud in the tractate of Taanit page 30 folio B, tells of seven historic events which occurred on Tu B’av, and each one is reason enough to establish Tu B’av as a day of rejoicing. I will explore one of the less known reasons.
The Talmud calls this day “Tever Magal” which means the day of “breaking the axe.” What axes is the Talmud talking about and why is breaking them a reason for celebration?