Tu B’Av: A Holiday of Love

Tu B'Av - heart decorations

Love is in the air, as the Hebrew month of Av brings us the ancient Jewish holiday of Tu B’Av. The holiday occurs on the 15th day of Av, and it presents a time for expressing love to others.

In Hebrew, the word for love is Ahava. The root of Ahava –"בה-" means to give. Love involves giving - giving one’s time, attention, admiration, respect to others. In fact, a famous rabbi, Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, is frequently quoted as defining love from the Jewish point-of-view as "giving without expecting to take."

Other Jewish definitions of love come from the Torah: love your neighbor as yourself, and honor your parents and elders or community. For kids, love is understood through actions (hugs, kisses), and helping or good deeds. You can find celebrate Tu B'Av in lots of different ways, including, sending love to friends who live far away, bringing soup to a sick neighbor, or doing a service project together to show love for your community.

Celebrating Tu B'Av

For many centuries, the holiday of Tu B’Av was overlooked. It has re-emerged in modern times, however, and there are a variety of ways to celebrate it. For some, it presents an ideal day to wed. For others, it’s a time for community festivals, with singing and dancing.

Related: Let's Talk About Love!

Your family can commemorate Tu B’Av with PJ Library books like Good Night, Laila Tov, fun activities, or a simple “I love you.” In fact, you could even learn to say “I love you” in Hebrew.

Fun Fact: Why the 15th?

Phases of the moon

The Jewish calendar is, essentially, a lunar calendar — that is, its months are set in accordance with the phases of the moon.

Tu B’Av isn’t the only Jewish holiday to occur on the 15th day of a Hebrew month. Passover, Sukkot, and Tu B’Shevat also take place on this day. The 15th day represents the time of the month when the moon is at its fullest and, thus, serves as a symbol for potentiality and fullness.

More

Tu B’Av, the Jewish Day of Love via My Jewish Learning
7 Ways to Celebrate Tu B’Av via InterfaithFamily
8 Quirkiest Facts About Tu B’Av via The Forward