Happy Tu B’Av, or Israeli Valentine’s Day! Tu B’Av is a relatively unknown Jewish holiday that has been translated into a day of love in Israel, usually around August 14th. We can trace Tu B’Av to the beginning of the grape harvest season in biblical times. Makes sense, no? Interestingly, it’s paralleled with Yom Kippur, which is the end of the harvest season, but connotes a much different kind of reflection. This is the parallel I’d like to explore today: the day of love and the day of repentance. We always hear that if you want to love someone else, you must first love yourself. What if this isn’t a modern aphorism, but rather a biblical treatise? You have to repent and accept yourself (Yom Kippur), before you can celebrate your love with your partner (Tu B’Av). We also have to admit that we’re fallible and ask for forgiveness—two key traits for successful partners. So here’s the challenge for us all on this upcoming American Valentine’s Day: how can you embody the new self you embrace on Yom Kippur in your relationship? How can you use this day not to just celebrate your relationship, but also to question where your relationship stands and how you can improve it in the coming year? Use Valentine’s Day as a day of repentance with your partner and don’t just celebrate the new year of your love, but also embrace the vulnerability of that relationship and your role in its maintenance.
So what is this doing on the BJTI blog? Well, partnerships don’t just exist between romantic lovers. Our relationships with our parents and kids are the most important relationships we have. Use these guidelines to remember to interrogate your familial relationships, and to work on them in the same way you’d work on a relationship with a spouse.