Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Israel Series at HebrewPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Israeli holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 8 - Valentine’s Day.
In Israel, people enjoy celebrating love - אהבה (Aha-va). Israelis celebrate Valentine’s Day—a foreign date for the day of love, but Jewish tradition also has a holiday that is all about love: the 15th day of the holiday of Av, also known as Tu Be’Av - ט”ו באב. In 2015, people celebrated it on the July 31, and in 2016, they'll celebrate it on the August 19.
Come learn about the sources and the traditions associated with this ancient holiday.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
According to Jewish tradition, in the past, the daughters of Israel בנות ישראל (Be’not Israel) would go out in borrowed clothes and dance. Do you know why?
If you don't already know, keep listening! The answer will be revealed at the end of this lesson!
Jewish tradition tells us that the young women of Jerusalem - נשות ירושלים (Ne’shot Jerushalaim) would go out to the fields and vineyards on Tu BeAv wearing white clothes, and that they would dance. Young men would follow them, and this is how romantic relationships were created. In effect, several important events tied to Jewish tradition, or מסורת יהודית (masoret Ye’hudit), took place. What they shared in common were the themes of forgiveness, bonding, and strengthening bonds. According to tradition, this is the day of love between God and the Jewish people, and between human beings.
Today, in Israel, Tu Be’Av is celebrated as the holiday of love. Romantic couples give gifts to each other, flirt, and send flowers and chocolate. Romantic restaurants are packed until nighttime. One famous tradition associated with the holiday is the Night of Love at Tzemach - ליל אהבה בצמח (leil ahava be’tzemach), a nocturnal music festival that is held every Tu BeAv, at Tzemach beach, on the Sea of Galilee - כנרת (kineret).
For observant Jews, Tu BeAv is more than just a holiday celebrating romantic love. It’s a day of joy dedicated to Torah study. From Tu BeAv until the end of the winter - חורף (choref), people dedicate extra time for Torah learning at night, because the days are beginning to grow shorter, and the nights are growing longer. Tu BeAv also symbolizes the beginning of a period of soul-searching leading up to the beginning of the new year.
The Hebrew calendar - לוח השנה העברי (luach ha-shana ha-ivri) corresponds with the lunar cycle, so every month—that is, on the 15th of the month, the moon is full. On the Jewish holiday of love, the moon is full and especially bright.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
According to Jewish tradition, on Tu BeAv, Jewish girls would go out to dance in borrowed clothes. Do you know why?
Jewish girls would go out to the vineyards wearing borrowed white clothes. The clothes were borrowed so that no one could distinguish between the poor and the wealthy, so as not to embarrass anyone.
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting? How is love celebrated in your culture?
Leave a comment letting us know at HebrewPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson!