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Re: orion Second-Temple holidays: 15 of Av

Thank you Paul Mandel for your letter 0n 10:20 01/01/99 +0200. You wrote:
>However, despite many modern references to the contrary, the 15th of Av was
>not any more 'carnivalistic' than other holidays, and was not, in essence,
>a "Sadie Hawkins Day":  The only references to this day in early,
>pre-Amoraic times (besides the final mishna in Ta`anit, also: Mishna
>Ta'anit 4, 5; Megillat Ta`anit; and Josephus, Wars 2, 17, 6 [425]) all
>point to the major aspect of this day as being the main day for 'korban
>eitzim' - the Wood Offering 
The celebrations of boys and
>girls in Jerusalem mentioned in connection with this day (and on the Day of
>Atonement) should not be seen as the SOURCE of the holiday, but rather as
>examples given of popular joy on these days.  (The marriage traditions
>relating to this day are of later date, and are most probably not
>historically attested.)
>Paul (Pinchas) Mandel
How can I sit quietly when such claims are made concerning the 15th of Av?
Let's start with Judges 21:19:
"and they said:  here is a Festival of G-d in Shiloh, from year to year..."

The Talmud Bavli [Ta'anit 30b] lists six separate reasons for rejoicing on
this day, the first of which [chronologically]
is:  "the day that the dying ceased in the wilderness",  while a recurrent
theme is the reunification of the People of Israel:
-the day that the tribes were permitted to inter-marry [nullification of
the prohibition from the days of the daughters of Zelophechad in the
generation of Joshua]
-[and similarly, and this is the mention in Judges] the day that it was
permitted to inter-marry with the tribe of Benjamin
[after the near extermination of the tribe as a consequence of the
"pilegesh bGivah"
-the day that Hoshea ben Aleh removed the roadblocks that prohibited
Pilgrimige to the Temple in Jerusalem [in the last generation before the
Assyrian conquest of the North]
Reunification and reconciliation is a very important positive theme which
returns generation after generation, and does not conflict with the wood
offering which is brought on the same day.

Menachem Brody
Machon Helkat Hasadeh
Elon Moreh