Tu B’Av and the Essence of Marriage

25 07 2010

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur on Tu B’Av by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Tu B'Av and the Essence of Marriage

The  Ohr Hachaim states that everything in this world has both male and female aspects.   The male aspect gives forth and the female aspect receives, builds, and gives birth. People live fragmented lives and then become whole through their interaction with others. Fragmentation is inherently necessary. Hashem is the only being that is completely male without any female element. He does not need to be provided for by anyone. He is the male of the world and all humankind is the female. Man receives and builds in accordance with His will. Hashem is manifested as Chochma-the momentary flash of creative inspiration which is called Abah. Humankind is Binah- containment, as we take that flash and develop it further so that it takes on form and structure. This is called Imah. The combination of Chochma and Binah creates Daat-the unborn child, which is the ability to make moral decisions. The world is a meeting place for Chochma and Binah.   Malchut and Tiferet work in tandem with Chochmah and Binah. The trait of Malchut means committing to making something happen on Hashem’s terms. This comes together with Tiferet to create an elusive wholeness.

Tu B’av is an auspicious day to think about marriage and what it truly means. It involves reaching towards that sheleimut of Tiferet and Malchut. This means approaching the dating scene with the attitude of, “I am in this to give and build,” instead of, “What can I receive?” A young woman needs to ask herself, “What can I do with my desire to build and with whom can I build?” The young man needs to ask, “Can she receive and build with what I will provide?”  There has to be an elevated vision rather than just a desire  for pleasure, honor, and filling ones practical needs.

A time of destruction is also a time of rebuilding. In order to achieve actualization as a people we need a period of mourning, of seeing what we are not and what we don’t have. The decrease in joy creates a yearning for the redemption. Similarly, one should enter the shidduch process with the recognition that one cannot build by oneself and one cannot give meaningfully if there is no one to receive and build with it.  There is a profound yearning for completion. The ultimate marriage is the combination of chochma, binah, tiferet, and malchut.

One should marry with the goal to make Hashem known in the world and to reveal goodness in each other, the world, and future children. A woman needs to look for a future husband whom she can revere and who will treasure her and provide the goodness with which she can build. A man needs to look for a woman who is credible, committed, and who will respect him and potentially be able to build what he wants to see built.

Tu B’av is meant to be a joyous day.  Happiness comes from being able to say, “I am building, not receiving.” The most exhilarating moments of a person’s life are moments of achievement intertwined with connection. Unity means when both parties stop seeing themselves without the other, when self actualization becomes the actualization of “us”.   Let us strive to reach this level of supreme joy, selflessness, perfection, and true unity in our marriages.

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