I am, quite possibly, the least qualified host, ever, for Haveil Havalim:
1) I don’t live in Israel, and HH always seems to place a (worthy) emphasis on Israeli blogs;
2) I’ve been around the Jblogosphere for two years now in one form or another, but I rarely set aside time to read any other blogs. I did make a special effort to look at some of my favorites to find posts for this issue (and I was disappointed to find that some of my favorites didn’t post anything I could use this week…)
3) I always follow the HH rules and submit a maximum of two, and very rarely three, posts. Now I’ve discovered that there are bloggers who submit five or six. (And there are some really high-quality bloggers who submit nothing. Go figure.)
4) I don’t like the HH categories (Why are there separate categories for Judaism and Torah? Why is there no category for Life or Blogging? Et cetera)
But Jack asked, and who am I to refuse Jack? So, without further ado, here is “Haveil Havalim #178: The Tu b’Av Edition!”
We are taught (Taanit 30b-31a) that Tu b’Av is one of the two greatest days on the Jewish calendar, sharing the title with Yom Kippur. The gemara enumerates seven elements of Tu b’Av’s happiness, so I thought I would invent seven new Haveil Havalim categories for this issue, based on those happy themes:
THEME ONE: LIFE
On Tu b’Av, the die-off of the Desert Generation stopped, so that the remaining Jewish nation knew they would enter Israel. To Life!
This week saw quite a few posts about Life, Jewish and otherwise, in different places: Out and About in the City of the Czars shows life in Russia, People on strings: The International Festival of Puppet Theater hits Jerusalem showcases a puppet festival (no, that wasn't a swipe at the Knesset...), there’s a kite festival at We Truly Are An עם רוחני Am Ruchani and we’ve got an alternative Jblogger conference as well.
Lots of Life in the parenting posts this week: Dad Did It Better, Letting Go, Revisiting the Misgeret, or Is Preschool Necessary, Who needs a car wash? We've got Legos!, E=MC Chamud and Cookie Cutter. Not to mention Home Alone less fun in real life.
Probably my favorite To Life post this week was this one: A Harpie at 30,000 Feet (you'll get the "To Life" reference once you read it...)
There are some hazards in Life, too; see Therapeutic Boundaries and Guest Post on Substance Abuse.
How about communal life? Check out my own Avoiding the appearance of showmanship is also showmanship and How do you behave at Kiddush? as well as Travesty of Justice.
Let’s throw in some Nachamu music, too, courtesy of Psychotoddler.
There was also this unique Obligatory Tisha b’Av Post take on Tisha b’Av, and I wasn’t sure where else to put it, so it landed here.
THEME TWO: UNITY
On Tu b’Av, the Civil War between Binyamin and the rest of the Jews (see the end of the book of Shoftim) stopped; here are some posts on our own politics and (un-)civil internal wars…
We have heavy material on Israel’s internal struggles at Would They Invite Me into Their Car? and I challenge Miriam Shaviv, not to mention I Told You So, I Told You So, I Told You So...., Gush Katif - The Museum and The Right Direction? When both sides are right pretty much sums it up.
We have a questioning of religious schism, too, at Parallel Worlds, an interesting note from the always-interesting Emes v'Emunah at Defending the Zealots, and my own A support group for homosexual “Torah-true” Jews?.
Juggling Frogs describes a lesson in trusting a friend... and without trust, where would unity be?
To round out the category, there’s Blogging Schism at What’s This? and a little unity via The Unifying Power of Jewish Geography.
THEME THREE: MARRIAGE
When Moshe announced that Israel’s land would be divided among patrilineally determined tribes, and that men would inherit land, Machlah, Noah, Chaglah, Milkah and Tirtzah requested the power to inherit their deceased father’s portions. This was granted to them, but among the consequences was a decree that women who inherited land would need to marry within their tribes, guaranteeing that when their sons inherited their land, it would remain within the tribe. This decree was lifted, broadening marriage options and gladdening shadchanim everywhere, on Tu b’Av.
Lion of Zion posted information and music at Jewish Valentine's Day (Tu be-Av): Music and History.
Srugim was high on the dating and marriage agenda at Srugim...your weekly fix and Psak on TV Dating.
Leora cited the marriage practices of Tu b’Av in the monthly KCC post, Kosher Cooking Carnival #33: Women Wearing White.
And what’s a marriage discussion without an intermarriage discussion? See Running Deer? Call Me Sitting Shiva.
THEME FOUR: PEOPLE WHO REALLY DON’T LIKE US
After the Bar Kochba revolt was smashed by the Romans, the victors refused to allow us to bury our dead. Years later - on Tu b’Av - the Romans pioneered the now-routine practice of returning murdered Jews, and permitted us to bury them.
Not surprisingly, we have lots of posts about people who don’t like us. And, fitting the fall-of-Betar theme, I threw in some posts on death and suffering. Let's get it all out of the way in this category, shall we?
We kick off this section with a note on the pernicious origins of the Olympics at This Year Tisha B'Av Reminds Me Of Chanukah (despite this note at Lezak Brings Home Relay Gold) and then dive right in to Gila’s visit to an Arab village, here and here.
We’ve got Ten Years and The Israel Situation: Somebody Noticed Islamic Hypocracy [sic], and some fun at What do you do....
Want enemies? We’ve got loads of ‘em, with Messianic (J4J) activity at Tisha b’Av, warnings about Joe Lieberman at Does John McCain Know THIS About Joe Lieberman? and some very interesting information at Howard Rotberg’s Affair.
There’s Holocaust-related material at Comic book stars turn serious and a very interesting note at Digitizing The Holocaust: Yad Vashem on YouTube.
And, of course, can't forget the French, can we?
On a more global level, the personal nature of suffering is explored at Whose Story is it Anyway? and Jack talks death at Sudden Death and Aging.
Of course, with all of these enemies and all of this death there is still room for humor at My Infidel Jewish Doctor, Jihad Against Sexy Fruit & Vegetables: Seriously and Iranian official deflects charge of not hating Israel enough.
THEME FIVE: ROADBLOCKS
When the Northern Kingdom of Yisrael split off from the Southern Kingdom of Yehudah, Yeravam, leader of the north, set up roadblocks to keep Jews from the north away from Yerushalayim and the Beit haMikdash. Those roadblocks were removed, generations later - on Tu b’Av.
With this category we mark Roadblocks of all kinds:
We have construction at Downtown Jerusalem--Under Construction and Uniq by any standard.
We have pictures of a roadblock-less Shomron here.
For another type of roadblock, check out this new-oleh lesson in using Israeli bus stops.
And a spiritual roadblock at The Western Wall Tunnels.
THEME SIX: BEIT HAMIKDASH
Tu b’Av, coming midway through the summer heat, is when we finish cutting wood for the korbanot of the Beit haMikdash, and so it is a day of siyyum, celebrating completion of this great mitzvah.
We have reminders of what we have achieved, and what we have yet to achieve, at The Bitter in the Bitter-sweet, What was that Tisha B'Av all about anyway? and Two Past Nine: Looking Back.
We have a post on the depth of Tisha b'Av's message at Mourning enormous loss: Tisha b'Av, the trauma of memory and the wisdom of Jewish tradition. In mourning the Beis haMikdash, we don’t endanger ourselves, though: Fewer Friends Are Fasting, according to Me-ander.
The Environmentalists doubtless recognize the need to cut back wood from time to time, and so presumably Green Map coordinator Jacqueline Rose would celebrate Tu b’Av with us.
Curious Jew speaks of one of the points we need to stress for the re-building of the Beis haMikdash at The Spirit of the Law: Heart Before The Mind, and R’ Gil Student posts on a new biography of one of my favorite rabbis, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, at R. Haskel Lookstein and Social Activism.
THEME SEVEN: LEARNING TORAH
Tu b’Av comes at around the time when the nights begin to lengthen and the days begin to shorten (not precisely, of course, since Tu b’Av is a lunar date!). From this point on, then, we have less time to work in the fields, but more time to study Torah at night - so here are some dvar torah posts:
Tzipiyah looks at devoting ourselves to the growth of our nation at A separate personal growth or a unified national growth? and my brother schmoozes Ayin haRa over at Kosher Beers with Max Kellerman's Monday Musings Vol XXII - Jets, Baseball and Ayin Hara.
Barzilai comments on Counterbalancing Satiation and Sarah Schenirer and R’ Shimshon Raphael Hirsch are the topic here.
And how could we have a Dvar Torah section without a post on the parshah?
So, there you have it. Unqualified, unsavvy, but we made it through.
To celebrate, herewith some boilerplate: