Whether it is our own perception of ourselves or the way others might see us, we all want to be viewed as whole, complete, okay. We will sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to maintain this illusion. What would be if we let go?
We've just come from Tisha B'av several days ago, the saddest day on our calendar, when we hit an all time low. Just a few days later, on the full moon of the 15th of Av (also known as Tu B'av) we celebrate one of the happiest. The Talmud states in Tractate Taanit: “Never were there more joyous days for the Jewish people than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur,”. There are several reasons listed for its celebration.
The Arizal taught that on the 15th of the month the moon is at its fullest. The sages teach that the Jewish people are compared to the moon and so on the 15th of Av we are also at our fullest. This day also celebrates love and connection, an auspicious time for engagements and marriages. But there are many full moons in our calendar that seem even more joyous, like Passover and Sukkot. Why is the full moon of Av in a month of grief and mourning given this distinction in the Talmud?
When we let go of our perfectionism, when we see and accept our brokenness, there is a shattering that occurs. Cracks begin to form and appear where we have been trying so hard to hide them. These cracks create space and it is in that space of openness and vulnerability that true love and connection is possible.
And so it is that grief and sadness, leads the way to the greatest joy. The low of Tisha B'av, our communal shattering, is the precursor to the joy of the 15th of Av. Our willingness to face and share our truths- the good and "bad"- liberates us and enables relationships to deepen and reach new heights. This is a reflection of the theme in Torah "Yerida Letzorech Aliyah" a descent for the sake of ascent.
Another ascent is coming up, the start of the Jewish New Year in 6 weeks. There is a Chassidic custom to begin wishing one another a "Kesiva Vachasima Tova" from this day of Tu B'av.
With wishes for the courage and strength to shatter and connect deeply,