The generic chick flick usually goes like this: Guy meets girl, guy likes girl, guy pursues girl, guy and girl fall in love, drama, guy and girl make peace, wedding, they live happily ever after… potentially. Yep, based on Hollywood the guy is the hero who initiates the pursuit of love.
Which leads us to ask: what stands behind the “guy meets girl” theme?
It’s a tale as old as time… it’s even in the Torah!
This is how biblical Jews used to find their bashert (i.e. soulmate), just imagine —
The summer breeze strokes your cheeks while taking a night stroll under the starry skies. The full moon illuminates your way through the vineyards, as you see figures dressed in white sway to the soft sound of song: “Young man, lift up your eyes and see who you would choose for yourself. Set not your eyes on beauty, but set your eyes on family…”
Who’d have thought? The Torah and the Talmud are also romantic novels!
Now, imagine locking eyes with the wo/man of your dreams, mid Pirouette, as your hair blows in the velvety summer wind… At this point, you’re just a few Hora steps away from your Chupah day.
I know it sounds like a cheesy flick. But once upon a time, in Tu B’Av, the Jewish Day of love, this is how single men pursued a wife. They pretty much plucked them out from the dancing crowd.
Think about it like speed dating with many potential soulmates spinning around. It was a simpler time when the closest thing to “swipe left” was ducking behind a bush.
Besides, who says that biblical love wasn’t romantic? Compared to dating apps and shidduch resumes, moonlit vineyard mixers sound way more appealing. I mean, playing peek-a-boo behind a tree? Gotta admit, it does have its charm.
Tu B’Av is probably the most mysterious holiday in Jewish tradition too. It wasn’t practiced for centuries, up to the point of its resurrection by modern day Israel. Nobody knows why or how.
Even though there are no actual traditional practices for Tu B’Av, Israel today celebrates the Jewish day of love as a national music festival!
What better pastime is there to do on the Jewish Valentine’s Day other than celebrating it with dance and music?